Philippines Earthquake Kills 6, Up to 7.1 Magnitude


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Authorities have listed at least six people dead due to a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the Philippines on Tuesday, at just after 8 am local time. The quake destroyed buildings and collapsed a fish market, killing four, and another market, killing two, in the central Philippines city of Cebu. The city is a major tourist, trading and economic hub for the island nation. Casualty numbers continue to be updated. Unlike a similar quake in 2012, tsunami warnings were not issued this time.

Surrounding areas of the Bohol region are popular attractions, boasting picturesque beaches and the "Chocolate Hills". The Philippines lies on the Pacific "ring of fire" and part of what creates a spectacular environment also contributes to a deadly one with frequent seismic activity along the series of islands.

This is the weekend's second quake, an earlier one hitting the Greek island of Crete and stretching to over 6.0 on the Richter scale.

The initial quake was followed by a minimum of four aftershocks that reached at least 5.0 magnitude. Speculation is that as Tuesday is a national holiday, some deaths may have been avoided with schools and offices being closed. Reports started rolling into Twitter at just after 8 pm (ET).

The Philippines faced typhoons this weekend, prior to this earthquake. At last report, at least 13 were killed when Typhoon Nari hit the north of the country on Saturday.

Two of the oldest Philippines churches, Loboc and Baclayon, sustained serious damage in the quake. Loboc was rebuilt in the 17th century after a fire destroyed the original and Baclayon Church dates to the 18th century. Both attracted Twitter broadcasts from those nearby (Loboc Church pictured here).
Loboc Church
[Images via CIA World Factbook and Twitter.]