Philippine officials say at least 93 people have been confirmed dead and dozens more injured by a devastating earthquake that struck the central parts of the Southeast Asian country.
The 7.2-magnitude quake was centered about 385 miles (619 kilometers) south-southeast of Manila, near Catigbian, and its depth was 12 miles (20 kilometers), according to the US Geological Survey.
According to the Philippines Office of Civil Defense, several hundreds others were injured when the quake collapsed buildings and roofs, and cracked roads on Bohol Island and the nearby Cebu Island.
Monuments and buildings in and around one of the Philippines’ major tourist hubs were also damaged during the incident.
The injured people were rushed to hospitals for medical treatment, but the death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are said to be in critical condition.
The earthquake occurred on Tuesday when offices and schools were closed for a national holiday and that may have reduced casualties.
“It’s fortunate that many offices and schools are closed due to the holiday,” media outlets quoted a local administration official as saying.
The temblor was followed by a number of aftershocks, which hit at a depth of 56 kilometers.
The Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is an area with intense seismic and volcanic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.
In February 2012, more than a hundred died or went missing after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the Negros Island in the Visayas, some 100 kilometers from the epicenter of Tuesday’s temblor.
In 1976, a 7.9-magnitude quake struck the Moro Gulf on the southern island of Mindanao, killing between 5,000 and 8,000, according to the Philippines official estimates.
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