A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines, prompting more than 50 landslides and killing at least five people.
The earthquake hit northern Luzon, the Philippines’ most populous island, on Wednesday morning at a depth of six miles, killing at least five and injuring 130 people, according to the authorities.
The quake centered in the Abra province, a region known for its mountainous terrain and deep valleys. The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center said the impact caused about $687 million of infrastructure damage and affected more than 21,000 people.
“The ground shook like I was on a swing and the lights suddenly went out. We rushed out of the office, and I heard screams and some of my companions were in tears,” Michael Brillantes, a safety officer in Abra, told the Associated Press. “It was the most powerful quake I’ve felt and I thought the ground would open up.”
There had been 58 reported landslides, damaging hundreds of homes and several schools and hospitals. Centuries-old historical sites, including Vigan Cathedral and Bantay Bell Tower (seen in the video below), also collapsed among terrified residents and visitors.
A villager reportedly died after being hit by falling cement slabs in his home in Abra. Another man in Benguet province was crushed to death after a small building collapsed.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who visited Abra on Thursday, said the power had been restored in most areas of the region, but the residents’ access to water remains a problem.
“I urge everyone to stay alert and to prioritize safety in light of the possibilities of aftershocks that might be felt after that strong earthquake,” Abra Representative Ching Bernos wrote in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation on the ground and gathering information on the extent of the damage to the Province. My office is also actively coordinating with proper authorities on what can be done to assist families and communities that were severely affected by this earthquake.”
The Philippines is considered one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, as it lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
Featured Image via Edison M. Adducul / Philippine Information Agency