Philippines hit by a major earthquake

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 had struck the northwest part of the country causing heavy damage to the airport. The quake triggered a state of panic for the residents who were seen rushing out of the high-rise buildings. Rescue efforts have begun with the rescuers trying hard to reach the many scores of people who are feared buried under the rubble of a building which had collapsed in a major quake in Manila yesterday.

The worst damage is reported in the Pampanga province were a total of 11 deaths have been so far reported. Most people have been hurt by falling of rubble from the buildings. It has been estimated that the death toll could go up further as the rescue teams spread across the region for assessing the damage which has been done to isolated hamlets which had lost both power and communications. The quake has brought the strongest tremors said to have been seen in years.

There have been over 400 aftershocks since the initial quake took place. Many scores of rescue personnel are involved in the efforts using cranes and jackhammers to pull back the concrete structure of a four-storey market complex which had collapsed. It is estimated that around 30 people are still missing and presumed to be trapped under the rubble in the town of Porac.

The earthquake is said to have caused severe damage to centuries-old churches in the region which were also crowded due to the recent celebrations of Easter in the country. The 18th-century belfry of the Saint Catherine of Alexandria church had also collapsed in the quake as stated by Father Roland Moraleja. Father said, “It was the only part left from the old church. The historical value is now gone, but we are hopeful that it will rise again”.

Many thousands of travellers are left stranded as the aviation department has closed the secondary Clark Airport which is based on the place of former US military installation which is about an hour’s drive in the north of the capital. The airport remains closed due to heavy damage in the terminal building and also cracking of the air traffic control tower. The Philippines falls in the “Pacific Ring of Fire” which is home to about 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake had hit the country in July 1990 which had led to the death of 2400 people.



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