MANILA, April 22, (RTRS): At least eight people were killed when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the Philippines’ main island of Luzon on Monday and officials feared dozens could be trapped in the rubble of a collapsed commercial building.
The quake hit 60 kms (37 miles) northwest of the capital, Manila, disrupting air, rail and road transport and causing some damage to buildings and infrastructure. The province of Pampanga was worst hit. Eight people were killed and about 20 injured, provincial governor Lilia Pineda said by telephone, citing information from disaster officials. Rescuers were using heavy duty equipment and search dogs to try to reach people trapped after a four-storey building went down, crushing the ground-floor supermarket, she said.
“They can be heard crying in pain,” she said of those trapped. “It won’t be easy to rescue them.” The quake was initially reported as being of 6.3 magnitude and later revised down to 6.1 magnitude, the US Geological Survey and Philippines seismology authorities said.
The Philippines is prone to natural disasters, located on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a horse-shoe shaped band of volcanoes and fault lines that circles the edges of the Pacific Ocean. It is also hit by an average 20 typhoons a year, bringing heavy rains that trigger deadly landslides.
Pampanga’s international airport at Clark, a former US military base, was closed and scores of flights were cancelled after damage to parts of the facility including check-in areas. Large cracks appeared on provincial roads and electricity poles were felled