A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit the Philippine claiming the lives of at least one person and damaging roads and buildings including a hospital and a sports complex being used as a novel coronavirus or COVID-19 center.

It was the strongest earthquake in the last eight months in the Philippines that lies on the "Ring of Fire," which is a seismically active belt of volcanoes that is circling the Pacific Ocean.

Earthquake in Philippines

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Earthquake Pixabay

"My things at home fell down and my neighbors' walls cracked and some collapsed," Rodrigo Gonhuran, 30, told Reuters from the central town of Cataingan, which has a population of more than 50,000 people and is near the epicenter. One man, a retired police colonel, was killed when his three-story house collapsed, while four people suffered minor injuries, provincial administrator Rino Revalo told DZMM radio station.

Patients were moved out of a hospital into tents because of cracks in the building, Revalo said. Engineers were checking a damaged sports complex to see if it was safe to accommodate people staying there in quarantine after moving back from the capital, Manila, he said. People returning to their homes in the provinces from the capital have to spend time in quarantine.

The Philippines, which has a population of 107 million, has the most coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia with more than 164,000 confirmed infections and 2,681 deaths. The quake struck at sea at a depth of 30 km (18.64 miles), the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre said. The Philippine seismology agency said there was no risk of a tsunami but warned of aftershocks.

(With agency inputs)