A powerful earthquake violently shook the central Philippines Tuesday morning, killing at least 32 people, injuring hundreds and smashing one of the country’s oldest churches, officials said.
The earthquake was centered about 32 miles underground near the small town of Carmen, on the island of Bohol, and struck at 8:12 a.m., said Renato Solidum, the director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
“A magnitude seven earthquake has an energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs,” Mr. Solidum said. “This one had a magnitude of 7.2.”
The tremors reverberated across the adjacent islands of the central Philippines, toppling structures and sending panicked people into the streets.
“I was asleep and my bed started shaking very hard,” said Jessa Ariola, a 23-year-old resident of Tagbilaran, a city near the earthquake’s center. She said that after the tremors stopped she went to the restaurant where she works as a cashier and found it in ruins — with broken glass, toppled appliances and raw meat scattered on the floor.
Local television showed obliterated buildings, cracked roads, downed bridges and chaotic evacuations on Bohol. The quake also damaged major buildings in Cebu City, a heavily populated commercial center on a nearby island. Among those hit were a sprawling shopping mall, a prominent hospital and a busy public market.
The main airport on Bohol was temporarily closed as were several ports in the central Philippines, while officials inspected them for safety.
The damaged structures in Cebu included the Santo Niño de Cebu Basilica, which was founded in 1565. On Bohol, the roof of the Church of San Pedro in Loboc, which dates to 1602, collapsed. Officials said as many as 10 other historic churches appeared to have been damaged.
The earthquake killed at least 32 people, with 16 having died on the island of Bohol, 15 in nearby Cebu and one on the neighboring island of Siquijor, according to a statement from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. The island of Cebu, which is adjacent to Bohol, where the earthquake was centered, experienced extensive damage and injuries because it is more heavily populated, officials said.”
The New York Times, "Major Earthquake Strikes Central Philippines."
Near where I used to live. Prayers and thoughts to the people on Bohol, Cebu and adjacent provinces in Visayas.
More coverage throughout the day via ABS-CBN News.