Second quake hits Philippines as death toll rises

Residents sit outside after being evacuated from the condominium building after an earthquake in Makati City, Philippines, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Neil Jerome Morales - RC1CAB155790
Photo credit: Reuters

A second earthquake has hit the Philippines as rescue teams searched for signs of life beneath the rubble of a collapsed four-storey commercial building after a strong earthquake shook the country's biggest island a day earlier.

The US Geological Survey said an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 struck in Samar in the southern Philippines on Tuesday afternoon.

There were no immediate reports of destruction there but the national seismology agency said damage could be expected from what it recorded as a 6.2 magnitude quake.                                            

The death toll from the first quake rose to 15.

Heavy lifting equipment and search dogs were used as dozens of firefighters, military and civilian rescue teams raced to shift lumps of concrete in a commercial area of Porac, about 110 km  north of Manila, where a 6.1 magnitude earthquake damaged several buildings on Monday.

Two people were rescued there on Tuesday, adding to seven found alive and four found dead overnight in the mix of rubble and mangled metal that caved in on a ground-floor supermarket in the worst recorded incident.

Most deaths were confined to parts of Pampanga province, where the governor said investigations would be held to determine why only certain buildings were damaged while others were intact.

The Philippines is prone to natural disasters and is located on the seismically active Pacific "Ring of Fire", a horse shoe-shaped band of volcanoes and fault lines that arcs round the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

The earthquake was felt strongly in key business areas of Manila, with residential and office buildings evacuated after being shaken for several minutes. Train services were halted and roads and sidewalks were clogged by the sudden exodus of workers.

The government declared Tuesday a holiday for civil servants in Metro Manila to allow for safety inspections of buildings.

The international airport in Clark, a former US military base in Pampanga, remained closed for repairs, while parts of one corner of a historic church in the province collapsed.           

Reuters 

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