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Dozens of People Still Missing After Earthquake Hits Central Philippines

Many are believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings.
April 23, 2019, 7:53am
rescuers in porac
Rescuers at a collapsed four-storey building in Porac, Pampanga, the Philippines. Photo by Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the city of San Juan in Samar province at 1:30 pm local time on Tuesday, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. There were no immediate reports of damages and casualties from the site.

On Monday afternoon, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Luzon, 60 kilometres northwest of Manila.


The province of Pampanga took the worst hit from Monday's earthquake, with eight people confirmed dead so far and dozens suspected to be trapped underneath collapsed buildings. Rescue officials are racing against time to pull survivors out of the rubbles from a collapsed supermarket in the town of Porac.

"We’re all very happy, many clapped their hands in relief because we’re still finding survivors after several hours,” Porac Councilor Maynard Lapid told Associate Press by phone from the scene on Tuesday morning.

The rescue effort included Red cross volunteers, army troops, police officers and villagers equipped with four canes, crow bars and sniffer dogs. On Tuesday, rescuers continue to attempt to locate at least 24 more missing people in Porac.

The earthquake was also felt in Manila, where frightened office workers raced out of the capital's skyscrapers. The force of the quake also caused water from a swimming pool of a high-rise building to cascade to the streets, as captured in a now-viral video.

At least 52 aftershocks have been recorded so far.

Besides homes, roads, and bridges, Monday's earthquake damaged several churches and Clark International Airport, a former American air base in Pompanga where seven people reportedly suffered from injuries. In light of the damages, the country's Department of Transportation announced a 24-hour closure of the airport. In Manila, Ninoy Aquino International Airport is operating as usual.

President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to visit Pompanga on Tuesday afternoon, said his spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The Philippines is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and fault lines, and earthquake is common.

"The earthquake of magnitude 6.1 is considered a strong earthquake, but it is not a major earthquake,” Renato Solidum, the director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told the Washington Post.

Locals in Manila are much afraid of what they call "the Big One," or the possibility of a much stronger earthquake caused by the 60 kilometre fault line running through the capital.