Earthquake in the Philippines, over 100 dead

The death toll of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the Philippines rose to 144 on Wednesday.

The quake took place on Tuesday, injuring 291 people and frightening many who were celebrating religious festivals. Tuesday in fact marked the start of the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha.

The bulk of the damage was reported in the province of Bohol.

More than 20 people are still unaccounted for and the authorities are examining reports of people trapped in collapsed buildings.

The earthquake’s epicentre was pinpointed 620 km south-east of Manila, near Catigbian, at a depth of 20 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Philippines disaster council had estimated that the quake was of a magnitude 7.2, slightly higher than it actually was.

There was no widespread threat of a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, but it warned that earthquakes this large can sometimes cause tsunamis within 100 kilometres of the epicentre.

Tourist Robert Michael Poole was riding a bike when the earthquake struck and cracked the road in front of him.

“It was very strong,” Poole said. “I live in Tokyo. I am used to earthquakes. But this one was very strong. It shocked a lot of people here.”

Poole said he was able to move around and document some of the destruction, including a giant church that was decimated.

“Lucky thing is that it is a holiday here today and it happened at a time when nobody was in the church,” Poole said.

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