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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, December 17, 2017

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Powerful quake strikes southern Philippines, casualties reported

The magnitude 6.7 quake

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SURIGAO CITY, Philippines - A powerful earthquake struck the Surigao del Norte province in southern Philippines.>BNN

The magnitude 6.7 quake is said to have jolted people from their sleep late on Friday night, sending several students fleeing in fear. 

According to officials, at least six people were killed and 120 others injured even as rescuers continued to comb through cracked buildings and nearby towns to assess the damage and save possible survivors.

Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology said, “The quake was centered about 8 miles northwest of the provincial capital of Surigao at a relatively shallow depth of 6 miles.”

According to officials post the main quake, the region has experienced nearly 100 aftershocks. 

Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo was quoted as saying that evacuation centers accommodated wary residents overnight, who would return home on Saturday.

Further, provincial disaster-response official Gilbert Gonzales has said that at least 126 others were injured in Surigao and that the quake had knocked out power.

Officials also confirmed that the quake damage had forced the closure of the domestic airport due to deep cracks in its runway.

Amongst the buildings damaged about 430 miles southeast of Manila were a hotel, a shopping mall, a state college and several buildings. 

The impoverished region of Surigao was earlier struck by a major earthquake in 1879. 

Earlier in 1990, the northern island of Luzon was struck by a magnitude 7.7 quake killing nearly 2,000 people.

Then, in October 2013, a lethal quake measuring 7.1-magnitude struck the central islands, leaving over 220 people dead and destroying historic churches.

The Philippines, that lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire makes it a quake-prone region that experiences frequent seismic activity.

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