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SHAKE AND BLOW
6 dead after strong quake shakes southern Philippines
by Staff Writers
Surigao City, Philippines (AFP) Feb 11, 2017


Aftershocks rock Philippines quake city
Surigao, Philippines (AFP) Feb 12, 2017 - Thousands of residents of a city in the southern Philippines huddled on the streets Sunday, two days after a deadly quake, as aftershocks continued to hit the region.

The 6.5-magnitude quake struck Surigao and nearby areas of Mindanao island late Friday, killing six people and injuring more than 200 others, with more than a thousand homes destroyed or damaged, according to officials.

People who had fled their damaged homes wrapped themselves in blankets and sacks for a second night as they slept side by side on the pavement on Saturday, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

The state seismology office in Manila said it had recorded 130 weaker quakes in Surigao, a city of 152,000 people, and in the predominantly agricultural region around it since the quake struck.

However authorities said there were no reports of further casualties or damage.

Early on Sunday, long lines of people carrying pails and jugs queued for water rations supplied by fire trucks after the quake cut off tap water supply.

"We're still being hit by aftershocks, and as of now we do not have tap water supply. The people are suffering," provincial information officer Mary Escalante told ABS-CBN television in an interview.

"Buildings that suffered structural damage have been closed," she said, adding some schools and gyms that were meant to serve as evacuation centres were among those damaged by the quake.

The quake also damaged bridges and roads and knocked out the power supply, though electricity was restored in most of Surigao on Saturday.

President Rodrigo Duterte was scheduled to visit the city on Sunday to inspect the damage and lead the relief effort, officials said.

An average of five earthquakes, most of them undetectable except through instruments, hit daily across the Philippines, which lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

The last lethal quake that hit the country measured 7.1-magnitude. It left over 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches when it struck the central islands in October 2013.

Shallow quake hits southern Taiwan: USGS
Taipei (AFP) Feb 11, 2017 - A shallow earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, the US Geological Survey reported, a short distance from where a strong quake left more than 100 people dead.

The epicentre of the moderate 5.6-magnitude quake was 19 kilometres (12 miles) from Tainan city where a 6.4-magnitude quake last February toppled an apartment complex, burying residents and killing 115.

No deaths were reported following Saturday's earthquake, which left four people injured in Tainan and Kaohsiung and caused a brief power outage in Tainan's eastern district, according to the national fire agency.

The quake struck at a depth of nine kilometres, 23 kilometres north-northwest of Kaohsiung, the island's second-largest city, the USGS said in a statement.

Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

The island's worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

Rescuers dug through rubble Saturday to find survivors after a powerful earthquake struck the southern Philippines, killing at least six people and sending thousands fleeing for safety.

Residents of the southern town of Surigao in Mindanao island spent the night huddled in fear as aftershocks rocked the city following the 6.5-magnitude quake which struck late Friday when many people were already in bed.

Provincial disaster management officer Ramon Gotinga said that most of those killed had died due to falling objects.

But he added that one elderly man was buried in his home when the upper floor collapsed, and despite rescue teams digging throughout the night, they were unable to recover him alive.

Another 80-year-old woman died of a heart attack, Gotinga said, adding that at least 126 people were injured, 15 of them in a serious condition.

The quake damaged many buildings, including in the two-storey Gaisano mall -- one of the city's largest structures -- and shattered windows, sending sharp shards and heavy rubble into the street.

One bridge collapsed and two others were damaged in the quake, which also cracked the city airport's runway, forcing flights to be diverted, the civil defence office added.

"I thought it was the end of the world. The cement on the roads was cracking open," resident Carlos Canseco told ABS-CBN television.

Thousands of terrified residents fled their homes with many running to higher ground, fearing that a tsunami would hit the coastal city of over 152,000 people.

Regional civil defence chief Rosauro Arnel Gonzales said several houses had collapsed and search and rescue teams had been dispatched to make sure no one was inside.

"There are reports of houses that were damaged and they (the rescue teams) have to go around these impacted areas to really ascertain whether there is a need to conduct a rescue," he told AFP.

The disaster also knocked out both power and water services in Surigao City and surrounding areas.

Authorities said they expected power to be restored by Sunday but that it may take as much as three days to bring back water services.

- Mass hysteria -

Many residents spent the night in parking lots and open fields to avoid falling objects or collapsing buildings.

Hospital staff temporarily brought bed-ridden patients outside until the aftershocks eased.

Local journalist Roel Catoto said when he visited a hospital emergency room after the quake, what he found was "mass hysteria."

"There were a lot of wounded patients coming in and all the patients who were (already) confined were rushing outside. They were afraid the hospital would collapse," he told AFP.

Gotinga said residents were still on edge on Saturday.

"They are all still traumatised. At the slightest shaking, they run out in the streets," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Ernesto Abella assured the public that the government was ready to assist them.

"These are trying times and our hearts go out to Surigao," he told reporters.

The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

The last lethal quake that hit the country measured 7.1-magnitude. It left over 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches when it struck the central islands in October 2013.


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