Two dead as strong quake hits central Philippines; 100 injured

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says that there was no no warning of a tsunami.

6.1magnitude earthquake strikes the southern Philippines
Officials survey damages caused by strong earthquake in Philippines. Reuters (Representational Image)

At least two people were killed and 100 were injured after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck central Philippines on Thursday morning. The officials said that more than five people were trapped inside a collapsed commercial building.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck at a of around six kilometres (four miles), but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that there was no no warning of a tsunami.

The Filipino seismologists said the tremor was caused by movement along the Philippine Fault, and the strongest shaking was felt in the Leyte town of Kananga. Rowena Codilla, the Mayor of Kananga said a building collapsed in Kananga, killing one person, injuring more than 20 others and trapping six people, including children, who were later rescued.

The police said that an 18-year-old woman died after being hit by falling debris in Ormoc City on Leyte island, near the epicentre of the quake. The rescuers pulled out eight survivors and one body from a collapsed three-storey structure in the town of Kananga, also on Leyte island, Codilla told AFP.

"Eight have been rescued. All are in the hospital," he said, declining to say if their injuries were serious. Among those rescued were two people who previously sent SMS messages under the rubble, calling for help, he said. "There are six or seven still inside. Definitely more than five but less than 10," he added.

Among those still trapped are two children who have been reached by rescuers but who still cannot be extricated from the rubble, the vice-mayor said. "We have given them water," he added.

Dominico Petilla, the governor of Leyte province, said the rescue personnel, ambulances and heavy equipment were sent to the mountainous town of about 50,000 people. "They're still trying to pull out the injured," Petilla told local television.

The 10-year-old building housed a small hotel upstairs and shops on the ground floor, officials said.

The energy department said in a statement that the entire island of Leyte as well as neighbouring islands were still without power as the quake caused geothermal plants on the island to shut down.

The Philippines sits on the highly seismically active zone "Pacific Ring of Fire" where many continental plates on the earth's crust keep colliding. Hence, it experiences frequent earthquakes.

In February, a 6.5-magnitude quake killed eight people and left more than 250 injured outside the southern city of Surigao. The following month a 5.9-magnitude tremor killed one person there in March.

The last lethal earthquake to hit the country before the February 10 quake was a 7.1-magnitude tremor that left over 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches when it struck the central islands in October 2013.