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Eight killed as quakes hit far northern Philippines

27 July 2019, MVT 15:23
This handout picture taken and received on July 27, 2019 courtesy of Dominic De Sagon Asa shows the damage to the Sta Maria de Mayan Church after a pair of strong earthquakes of magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 struck the region within hours of each other, in Itbayat on Batanes island. - Eight people were killed and dozens injured when the twin earthquakes struck islands in the northern Philippines early on July 27 while many were still asleep, local officials said. (Photo by Dominic DE SAGON ASA / Courtesy of Dominic DE SAGON ASA / AFP) / -----EDITORS NOTE --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Courtesy of Dominic DE SAGON ASA" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVES
27 July 2019, MVT 15:23

Eight people were killed and dozens injured when a series of earthquakes struck islands in the far northern Philippines early Saturday, terrifying locals and sparking an urgent search of collapsed homes.

The tremors hit the province of Batanes, a group of sparsely populated islets north of the nation's largest Luzon island, toppling buildings and leaving deep cracks in roads.

Panicked residents fled their houses and patients were wheeled from hospitals as a precaution as aftershocks rattled the scenic archipelago.

Rescue crews have begun searching for any survivors trapped in pancaked structures.

The biggest of the quakes -- of magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 -- struck within hours of each other, according to the US Geological Survey.

Many people were still asleep when the first tremor struck around 4:15 am (2015 GMT Friday), followed just under four hours later by a second, stronger jolt.

At least three aftershocks followed, putting locals on edge.

Mayor Raul de Sagon told AFP that eight people had been killed and around 60 others were hurt. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.

Batanes is pounded every year by tropical cyclones and typhoons that blast through the Philippines and homes are built of stone to survive the annual onslaught.

"We always experience typhoons so houses here are made to withstand strong winds," he said. "But we were not prepared for earthquakes such as this."

Police sergeant Uzi Villa added that the timing of the quake meant many people were at home when the first termor struck.

"We saw houses shaking. Some of the walls of the houses collapsed and fell on the victims," he told AFP.

Many people were still asleep when the first tremor struck around 4:15 am (2015 GMT Friday), followed just under four hours later by a second, stronger jolt.

At least three aftershocks followed, putting locals on edge.

Mayor Raul de Sagon told AFP that eight people had been killed and around 60 others were hurt. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.

Batanes is pounded every year by tropical cyclones and typhoons that blast through the Philippines and homes are built of stone to survive the annual onslaught.

"We always experience typhoons so houses here are made to withstand strong winds," he said. "But we were not prepared for earthquakes such as this."

Police sergeant Uzi Villa added that the timing of the quake meant many people were at home when the first termor struck.

"We saw houses shaking. Some of the walls of the houses collapsed and fell on the victims," he told AFP.

Manila, Philippines | AFP

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