Earthquake Jolts Philippine Island of Luzon

Felipe Villamor
170811-PH-quake-1000 Court employees gather in front of a building after an earthquake hit Manila, Aug. 11, 2017.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale rattled the main Philippine island of Luzon on Friday, shaking structures around the capital Manila and nearby areas and forcing the evacuation of schools and office buildings, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

The temblor’s epicenter was traced near the town of Nasugbu, in Batangas province, a coastal area some 70 km (43 miles) south of Manila, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

The quake struck in the early afternoon, and had a depth of 160 km (100 miles), seismologists said. It was enough to cause buildings in Manila to sway and to frighten people in a country accustomed to natural disasters.

Seismologists said deeper epicenters often are widely felt but usually cause less damage.

The Philippines sits on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, where earthquakes are common.

In July, a 6.5-magnitude quake struck the central province of Leyte. It triggered an aftershock of 5.4 on the Richter scale, four days later. The first quake led to the collapse of a commercial building, killing one and injuring about 100 others. Days later, a strong aftershock caused panic but no injuries.

A magnitude 7.2 temblor struck the central island of Bohol in 2013, killing 222 people and injuring nearly 800. It also damaged thousands of historical structures, including churches.

One of the most devastating quakes in recent memory occurred in July 1990, when a 7.7-magnitude temblor stuck Luzon. More than 1,600 people died, many of them trapped inside a hotel that crumbled in the northern town of Baguio.

On Friday, civil defense spokeswoman Georgina Garcia said officials had not received any reports of damage so far, but the quake had forced some schools to call off classes in the afternoon.

The quake was felt in varying intensities in Manila as well as in nearby population centers, including the heavily populated Imus city just an hour’s drive away, she said.

“Those who were in Manila felt it the most,” Garcia told local radio.


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