Strong quake injures dozens, shuts north Philippine airport

Strong quake injures dozens, shuts north Philippine airport

A strong earthquake shook a large part of the northern Philippines, injuring at least 36 people and forcing the closure of an international airport and evacuating patients to a hospital, officials said on Wednesday.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said Tuesday night’s 6.4-magnitude quake, which was set off by the motion of a local fault, struck 11 kilometers (7 mi) north-west of the city of Lagayan in Abra province. ) was focused on. miles).

The US Tsunami Warning System said no warnings or advisories had been issued.

The quake was felt over a wide area of ​​the main northern Luzon region, including parts of metropolitan Manila, more than 400 kilometers (250 mi) south of Abra.

At least 10 people suffered minor injuries in Abra, mainly from falling debris, and 26 others were injured in Ilocos Norte, the home province of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The international airport in Laog, the capital of Ilocos Norte, was closed on Wednesday due to earthquake damage and at least two domestic flights were canceled, officials said.

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In the city of Batak, also in Ilocos Norte, patients were taken out of the province’s largest hospital after parts of the roof in the intensive care unit collapsed from the shaking of the building. Medical consultation services at the hospital were suspended.

Officials said school classes in the province were halted while engineers assessed damage to buildings.

Marcos Jr. said officials were inspecting roads and buildings. “Most people are asking for tents because they are afraid to go back to their homes because if these are weakened and the aftershocks come, they may get hurt,” he told a news conference in Manila.

Officials said more than 400 aftershocks were detected but only a few were felt.

In the La Paz town of Abra, a century-old Christian church was damaged, parts of its belfry collapsed and some walls cracked, leaving the church’s meadow filled with rubble, officials said.

Damaged power lines caused power outages in at least two cities in Cagayan province. Several bridges and roads were damaged in the outlying provinces.

In July, a magnitude 7 earthquake caused landslides and damaged buildings in Abra and other northern provinces, killing at least five people and injuring dozens.

In 1990, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake killed nearly 2,000 people in the northern Philippines and caused widespread damage, including in Manila.

The Philippine archipelago is located on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, an area along most of the rim of the Pacific Ocean that is prone to numerous volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, making the Southeast Asian country one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. .

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