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7.2 earthquake jolts Bohol, hits Cebu hard

Basilica del Sto. Niño has been damaged due to the 7.2 earthquake (Photo by Facebook user Chii Latte)
Basilica del Sto. Niño has been damaged due to the 7.2 earthquake (Photo by Facebook user Chii Latte)
by Alma Buelva

Manila, Philippines – A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has jolted Bohol at 8:14 a.m. today, Oct. 15. It was also felt in Cebu, Negros, Siquijor, Northern Mindanao and in other nearby provinces.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported the epicenter at the mountainous area of Carmen, Bohol.

It is Cebu, however, that sustained a lot of damage. Early reports said two buildings in Cebu collapsed due to the strong tremor. The roof of the Gaisano Mall being constructed along SRP road (reclamation project) also gave way as the earth shook.

Cracks have been reported in Cebu and Tagbilaran runways as well. The airport is still open.

Cebu Pacific has cancelled its flights to Tagbilaran.

Cebu’s Pasil Market also collapsed and three bodies were recovered. Seearch and rescue operations are ongoing.

The quake also damaged the Baclayon and Sto. Nino Basilica bell towers. The old churches of Baclayon and Loboc suffered extensive damage. the Baclayon Church was declared a National Historic Treasure in 1995.

Part of Cebu Doctor University also collapsed and patients were brought out to the streets to reduce the possibility of more serious accidents or deaths due to the tremor.

Residents are out in the streets as of press time. They said they felt the ground shudder lightly, followed by a loud thump then teh ground shook violently for about a minute. Four aftershocks have been recorded since.

The terror also caused a stampede at the Toledo Gym that injured many and one reported fatality.

Communication and power lines in Butuan City also went down because of the tremor.

The proviincial office of the Department of Education immediately announced the suspension of classes tomorrow in schools within its jurisdiction to check for damages in classrooms and other buildings.

Phivolcs has reported intensity 6 in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, intensity 4 in Masbate City and intensity 3 in Davao City.

Nueva Fuerza in Bohol reported aftershocks with 5.4 intensity.

Intensity 5 earthquake was also felt in La Carlota City, Iloilo City.

The earthquake is said to be tectonic in nature. No tsunami alert has been raised. (with notes from Isabel de Leon, Anjo Perez, Mike Crismundo)

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