110 killed in Philippine strong earthquake

110 killed in Philippine strong earthquake
Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:32:00

The death toll from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the central Philippine island of Bohol reached 110 on Wednesday, with only three people pulled alive from rubble.

The three were rescued in nearby Cebu province hours after Tuesday's quake shattered office buildings and homes and caused many centuries-old churches to crumble, AP reported.

In Bohol, the quake's epicenter, rescuers counted 100 dead, said regional military commander Lieutenant General Roy Deveraturda.

"The most heavily hit in terms of casualties was the town of Loon, and there are still ongoing processes there, of recovery," said Edgardo Chatto, Governor of Bohol.

"The national government, even the President (Benigno Aquino III) and Ma Roxas, Secretary Ma Roxas (Secretary of the Interior, Manuel Roxas II) and Secretary Gazmin (Secretary of Defense, Voltaire Tuvera Gazmin) and the rest of the team who are here in Bohol, are strongly supporting also the efforts of the provincial government," he said.

There seems little hope of finding any large number of survivors from beneath the rubble of leveled buildings, homes and churches.

Many roads and bridges were damaged, making rescue operations difficult.

But historic churches dating from the Spanish colonial period suffered the most.

The country's oldest, the 16th-century Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu, lost its bell tower.

"The heritage old churches are also very close to the hearts of the Boholanos. So, I have talked to the Bishop and I have talked to the President and we were saying that we have to ask people and authorities to keep all the rubbles in tact (in place)," said Chatto.

"Every piece of the church should be left untouched so that restoration efforts can be easier. Because we can use the materials that they have there to restore them into what they used to be. It may not be a total restoration, but closest to what it used to be before," he said.

Nearly half of a 17th-century limestone church in Loboc town, southwest of Carmen, was reduced to rubble, as was the largest church on the island in Loon town, where three worshippers were buried alive.

Cebu reported nine fatalities, and one died on another island.

The entire province was without electricity after the quake cut power supplies.

The Philippine archipelago is located in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.

A magnitude-7.7 quake killed nearly 2,000 people on the northern island of Luzon in 1990.


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