The latest casualty count of the Philippines earthquake that hit yesterday morning (local time) has risen to over 90 dead and scores wounded, as the real impact of the disaster becomes apparent. The majority of the damage and injuries are centered on the central island of Bohol, also the epicenter of the quake.
Rescuers are working, as of the last report, to reach patients in a collapsed Bohol hospital, and other emergency workers are being hampered from their missions because of earthquake damage. Across the affected areas, power is out and transportation stalled as bridges and roads are found to be impassable.
Security cameras captured the rocking and rolling, chasing people out of markets and other buildings (above). Head of the state seismology agency, Renato Solidum, offered a comparison for the earthquake's significance, "A magnitude 7 earthquake has energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Compared to the 2010 Haiti earthquake that had a magnitude of 7.0, this one had a magnitude of 7.2, slightly stronger."
"We ran out of the building, and outside, we hugged trees because the tremors were so strong," said Vilma Yorong, a provincial government employee located in Bohol. "When the shaking stopped, I ran to the street and there I saw several injured people. Some were saying their church has collapsed."
Not to overshadow the lives lost, historic churches were a major loss from the earthquake. In Cebu, the oldest church in the nation, Basilica of the Holy Child, lost its bell tower. The Basilica dates back to the 16th century. As reported earlier, Loboc (17th century) and Baclayon (18th century) churches were destroyed.
The community of Loon suffered the largest number killed, 18 to date, when a hospital partially crumpled and pinned an undetermined number of patients. Rescuers are on the scene.
President Benigno S. Aquino III has been updated in briefings in Queson City and is expected to visit damaged areas Wednesday.[Image via Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines Facebook.]