Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET on 2019-04-22
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck sections of the northern Philippines on Monday, killing as many as eight people and sending throngs of office workers fleeing tall buildings, disaster relief officials said.
The quake struck shortly after 5 p.m., according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
“In Porac, Pampanga, the fourth floor of a building collapsed and there were people trapped inside,” Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda told Philippine media.
Pineda said three bodies were recovered from the four-story building and a woman and her grandchild were crushed to death by another building that collapsed in the nearby town of Lubao.
Porac Mayor Carling dela Cruz told local Philippine radio that the three victims had not died but were injured and taken to a hospital, the Associated Press reported.
Rescuers managed to pull to safety about 30 people from the building who were shocked, but otherwise unharmed, ABS-CBN television reported.
Pineda said another 40 people were trapped in a supermarket in Porac, according to local media reports. The Associated Press reported witnessing survivors and at least one body being removed from the collapsed building.
The Pampanga governor said the death told had climbed to eight.
“Almost all concrete electric posts in the villages of Lubao have fallen down. Due to the strong quake, it caused a blackout,” Pineda said, stating the arch marking the boundary between Lubao and Bataan province had collapsed as well.
Salvador Panelo, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, said the government is monitoring the after effects of the quake.
“We ask the public to remain calm but vigilant and we urge them to refrain from spreading disinformation in social media that may cause undue alarm, panic and stress to many people,” Panelo said in a statement. “We call upon our citizens’ innate Bayanihan spirit and request their cooperation, patience and understanding in this time of need.”
First responders from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Office of Civil Defense, Philippine National Police, and affected local government units, as well as other related agencies, have responded to the quake-damaged communities, Panelo said.
Epicenter west of Manila
While its epicenter was traced to the province of Zambales, west of Manila, the quake was felt in varying intensities in the densely packed capital where local media reported panicked office workers evacuating as their tall office building swayed.
Emergency services said all flights to the Clark International Airport north of Manila had been cancelled for the next 24 hours as a safety precaution. Office workers at the Bonifacio Global City financial district in Manila were seen slumped on the sidewalks as others left work for the day.
Major urban centers in Bulacan north of Manila and the suburb of Quezon City as well as in Batangas and Pampanga provinces along with 20 cities around the capital felt the quake.
Bart Bautista, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology deputy director, said at least 17 aftershocks were recorded and more are possible in the coming days. The Philippines sits on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, where active tectonic plates cause periodic quakes.