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A magnitude-7 earthquake struck the largest and most populous Philippines island on Wednesday, prompting evacuation of people, triggering landslides and damaging historic tourist spots.
The tremor was recorded at 8.43am local time, and originated in Abra province on the main Luzon island’s northern portion, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said. Aftershocks are expected, it added.
The earthquake is considered a “major” one, and “can be devastating”, CNN Philippines quoted the institute’s director Renato Solidum as saying. It’s the strongest inland earthquake since the tremor in central Philippines in 2013, he said at a televised briefing.
President Ferdinand Marcos jnr, who hails from northern Philippines, will fly to affected areas once it’s safe for him to do so, press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said. The leader has dispatched rescue and relief teams to Abra, she said.
Eric Singson, mayor of Candon City in Ilocos Sur province, asked constituents to get out of their houses, anticipating after shocks, he told DZMM radio. Patients in a hospital in Abra were transferred to tents, which were set up as a temporary facility.
The tremor triggered landslides in Benguet and Mountain Province, leading to road closures, authorities said. Power interruption and poor internet and phone connections are also being experienced, they said.
The historic city of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, a Unesco World Heritage site known for ancestral houses, also sustained damage, according to CNN Philippines. A centuries-old bell tower in the area also crumbled.
The earthquake was also felt in the capital, where office buildings were evacuated and rail operations were halted.
There’s no tsunami alert from the earthquake in the Southeast Asian nation, said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
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