Hundreds of aftershocks jolt Philippines following powerful earthquake

Jul 28, 2022: According to a report by AFP, anxious residents slept outside after hundreds of aftershocks rattled the earthquake-hit northern Philippines, as per local reports as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr inspected damage in the region.

Five people were killed and more than 150 injured when a 7.0-magnitude quake struck the lightly populated province of Abra on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The powerful quake rippled across the mountainous area, toppling buildings, triggering landslides and shaking high-rise towers hundreds of kilometres away in the capital Manila.

“Aftershocks happen almost every 20 minutes, 15 minutes since yesterday,” said Reggi Tolentino, a restaurant owner in Abra’s provincial capital Bangued.

Some families have been given modular tents to stay in. Marcos Jr has urged people to wait for their homes to be inspected before moving back.

Hundreds of buildings were damaged or destroyed, roads were blocked by landslides, and power was knocked out in affected areas.

Marcos Jr, who took office last month, arrived in Bangued on Thursday to inspect the damage and discuss the response effort with government, military and disaster officials.

More than 800 aftershocks have been recorded since the quake hit, including 24 that were strong enough to feel, the local seismological agency said.

Aftershocks were expected to continue for “several weeks”, Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told a briefing presided over by Marcos Jr.

In Vigan City, a UNESCO World Heritage site and tourist destination in Ilocos Sur province, centuries-old structures built during the Spanish colonial period were damaged.

After visiting Vigan on Thursday, Senator Imee Marcos, the president’s elder sister, said the damage to old churches in the city was “overwhelming”.

The Philippines is regularly rocked by quakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Wednesday’s quake was one of the strongest recorded in the Philippines in recent years and was felt across swathes of Luzon island, the most populous in the archipelago.

In October 2013, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Bohol Island in the central Philippines, killing more than 200 people and triggering landslides.

In 1990, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in the northern Philippines created a ground rupture stretching over a hundred kilometres.

Fatalities were estimated at more than 1,200, with major damage to buildings in Manila.

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