Another powerful quake rocks Philippines as deaths, damage rise

Search and rescue operations continue at the four-storey supermarket in Pampanga that collapsed and where as many as 30 people were feared trapped
Another powerful quake rocks Philippines as deaths, damage rise
Rescue workers search for survivors in a collapsed Chuzon Super Market in Porac, Pampanga, after a powerful earthquake hit northern Philippines on April 22, 2019.
By Bloomberg
Tue 23 Apr 2019 11:57 AM

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines on Tuesday, hitting the central region hours after at least 15 people were killed by a tremor in the main Luzon island.

Fourteen of the dead were from Pampanga province, among the hardest hit after a 6.1-magnitude quake struck at 5:11 p.m. local time on Monday, according to the authorities. Dozens were injured and missing in Pampanga and nearby areas.

In Eastern Samar, the centre of the tremor that hit at 1:37 p.m. on Tuesday, concrete roads and bridges sustained cracks, based on photos from ABS-CBN’s Twitter account. Social media posts also showed residents fleeing malls and buildings in the nearby provinces of Cebu and Iloilo.

Search and rescue operations continue at the four-storey supermarket in Pampanga that collapsed and where as many as 30 people were feared trapped, Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda told a local radio. Pineda wants the entire Pampanga province to be placed under a state of calamity that can unlock emergency funds and cap prices of commodities.

A landslide was reported in San Marcelino in Zambales, where 120 families were evacuated, the disaster-monitoring agency said. More than 100 flights were canceled to and from the Clark airport, according to its website.

Stocks, bonds

The Philippines’ benchmark stock index fell 0.2 percent at the close in Manila. There’s no currency and bonds trading on Tuesday, Bankers Association of the Philippines Managing Director Benjamin Castillo said. A skeletal force at the central bank will run clearing and settlement of transactions, according to Governor Benjamin Diokno.

The Bureau of the Treasury moved Tuesday’s auction of 20 billion pesos ($385 million) worth of 20-year bonds to April 24. Government offices in the capital and many schools in Metro Manila and nearby provinces were shut.

The government is checking if it can get an insurance payout under a program with the World Bank to help it respond to losses from the disaster, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to visit Clark, site of the former U.S. air base in Pampanga, on Tuesday. The province is home to Clark economic zone where the government is building a back-up capital.

Dozens of structures were damaged in the capital region and in central Luzon after Monday’s quake, the disaster agency said. A portion of the St. Agustin church tower and a bridge, both in Lubao town in Pampanga collapsed while an arch which sets the boundary between Bataan and Pampanga provinces was totally damaged.

In the capital, a building of a private college was ordered vacated after it tilted to an adjacent structure, ABS-CBN News reported. Water was also seen sloshing from at least three condominium buildings in Metro Manila on Monday, based on social media posts.

All train lines in the capital region are now running while the airport in Clark, which was shut after a portion of its ceiling collapsed, will partially reopen on Wednesday, the Transportation Department said. Ayala Land Inc.’s malls which closed on Monday resumed regular operations, according to a Twitter post.

Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In 2013, a major tremor hit Cebu and Bohol provinces in central Philippines, killing more than 200 people.

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