Strong quake rocks Visayas; 28 dead

(UPDATED) The magnitude 7.2 quake struck at 8:12 am, centered 2 km southeast of Carmen, Bohol, injuring many and damaging property across the region

Rappler.com

12:34:38am October 15, 2013

9:33:23am December 7, 2013

SEVERE DAMAGE. The centuries-old Loboc Church in Loboc, Bohol shows its collapsed roof after a magnitude 7.2 quake in the region, 15 October 2013. Photo courtesy of Robert Michael Poole (@tokyodrastic)

SEVERE DAMAGE. The centuries-old Loboc Church in Loboc, Bohol shows its collapsed roof after a magnitude 7.2 quake in the region, 15 October 2013. Photo courtesy of Robert Michael Poole (@tokyodrastic)

MANILA, Philippines (11th UPDATE) – A shallow magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Central Visayas Tuesday, October 15, killing at least 28 people in Cebu and damaging property – including historic structures – across the region.

The quake struck at 8:12 am, and was centered 2 kilometers southeast of Carmen, Bohol (09.80°N, 124.20°E). The quake's depth of focus was 33 kilometers, and was of tectonic origin, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its initial report. 

At least 28 people died in the quake, the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC) said. Fifteen were reported from Cebu; 4 in Bohol; and one in Siquijor.

In Cebu, four of the fatalities were recorded when a fish market collapsed, the local government said. Another person was killed in another market, while one child was killed in a stampede as people panicked to leave a building, Cebu governor Hilario Davide told ABS-CBN news.

At least 33 people were injured, the NDRRMC said. Nineteen were reported injured in Mandaue City, 6 in Toledo City, nad 8 in Pinamungajan in Cebu.

The quake was felt across the Visayas and Mindanao. People as far as Zamboanga and Davao cities reported to have felt it.

Phivolcs said the following intensities were felt:

Intensity VII - Tagbilaran, Bohol

Intensity VI - Hinigaran, Negros Occidental

Intensity V- Iloilo City; La Carlota

Intensity IV - Masbate City; Roxas City; San Jose, Culasi, Antique; Guihulngan, Negros Oriental

Intensity III - Davao City

Initial data released by the USGS said there were two earthquakes, both centered in Bohol. The agency shortly corrected the readings.

The quake was followed by 110 aftershocks, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said in a press conference at the NDRRMC.

Solidum said more damage can be expected in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter, specifically in Bohol and Cebu.

USGS issued a yellow warning, after the quake saying "some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response."

The quake was followed by two aftershocks, each measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a Pacific-wide tsunami threat.

Structures damaged

Patients streamed out of one of Cebu's major hospitals, which was damaged. Local media reported one floor of the building caught fire.

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, authorities were struggling to reach or contact damaged areas, with power lines as well as phone networks down, and a clear picture of the disaster had yet to emerge.

Neil Sanchez, head of the Cebu disaster management office said authorities were trying to confirm reports that a school had collapsed, with an undetermined number of children trapped.

"Communication lines are quite difficult here. Even the disaster risk reduction management office has been damaged. We had to move elsewhere," Sanchez told ABS-CBN television.

In social media, Rappler received numerous images of damaged buildings and roads.

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Bohol Gov Edgar Chatto, in an interview on ANC, said there are incoming reports of damage across the province, particularly to old buildings.

"[The quake] was really very strong. People now are a little bit in a situation of panic," Chatto told ANC.

People in the province are also monitoring abnormal sea level changes for possibility of a tsunami, but Chatto said there is little chance of it because the province is surrounded by other islands.

"We are still getting in touch with mayors, disaster officials of towns facing the Mindanao Sea, ito ang malawak," he said. "We are just asking people to be cautious but not to be panicky."

Cebu and surrounding areas impacted by the quake are among the country's most popular tourist destinations, largely due to the region's many beautiful beaches. Bohol also is famous for its Chocolate Hills, and its centuries-old churches.

Cebu, with a population of 2.5 million people, is also the political, economic, educational and cultural center of the region.

It hosts the country's busiest port and largest airport outside of Manila. It is also has a major ship building industry.

Here are reports sent to Rappler from across the affected region. – With reports from KD Suarez, Pia Ranada, and the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com