Manila ( AsiaNews)
- A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the center of the Philippine
archipelago , killing at least 20 people so far . The death toll,
however, is unfortunately likely to rise. Experts
from the U.S. Geological Survey reported that the quake struck below the island
of Bohol (Central Visayas ) , a populous region and one of the most popular
tourist destinations in the country. There
were also victims and damage reported in the neighboring province of Cebu. The
victims were trapped by the collapse of buildings and shopping centers, several
churches have suffered serious damage as a result of the powerful quake.
The earth shook at 8:12 this morning local time, a national holiday in the Philippines, which saved a greater number of victims given the collapse of some schools, fortunately empty. Official sources confirm that the largest number of deaths occurred in Cebu , the second largest city of the country. Five people died as a result of the partial collapse of a fishing marina, two other people, along with several wounded, died the collapse of the roof of a shopping center.
In the area affected by the earthquake communications are difficult and the local Civil Protection Office suffered severe damage and seems unable to coordinate relief operations . The quake also caused the interruption of the electricity supply in different areas of the province.
Interviewed by CBCP the Bishop of Tagbilaran , Msgr. Leonardo Medroso stresses that the tremor was " strong enough " to cause "serious damage " to several old churches of the diocese, dating to Spanish colonial times. So far there is only a partial estimate of places of worship destroyed, among which the churches of Looc and Carmen. Two People, added the prelate , were trapped while they were praying in the collapse of a church in Loon and died .
The Philippines is located along the so-called "Pacific ring of fire" characterized by intense volcanic and seismic activity . In 1990, an earthquake measuring 7.7 killed more than 2 thousand people in Luzon . In March 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck off the island of Luband , in Mindanao , but the wave was felt in Manila , the capital, more than 130 km from the epicenter . Most recently, in August 2012, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake propagated off the east coast of the island of Samar, with a tsunami warning and the evacuation of the general area .