Strong Quake in Philippines Kills One, Damages Quarantine Centre​



MANILA (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the Philippines on Tuesday, killing at least one person and damaging roads and buildings including a hospital and a sports complex being used as a novel coronavirus quarantine centre.

It was the strongest earthquake in eight months in the Philippines, which lies on the "Ring of Fire," a seismically active belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean.

A partially damaged building is seen amid debris in Masbate Province, August 18, 2020, after an earthquake struck the Philippines. Philippine Red Cros Masbate/ Handout via REUTERS

"My things at home fell down and my neighbours' walls cracked and some collapsed," Rodrigo Gonhuran, 30, told Reuters from the central town of Cataingan, which has a population of more than 50,000 people and is near the epicentre.

One man, a retired police colonel, was killed when his three-storey house collapsed, while four people suffered minor injuries, provincial administrator Rino Revalo told DZMM radio station.

Patients were moved out of a hospital into tents because of cracks in the building, Revalo said.

Engineers were checking a damaged sports complex to see if it was safe to accommodate people staying there in quarantine after moving back from the capital, Manila, he said.

A partially damaged house is seen amid debris in Masbate Province, after an earthquake struck the Philippines, August 18, 2020. Philippine Red Cros Masbate/ Handout via REUTERS

People returning to their homes in the provinces from the capital have to spend time in quarantine.

The Philippines, which has a population of 107 million, has the most coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia with more than 164,000 confirmed infections and 2,681 deaths.

The quake struck at sea at a depth of 30 km (18.64 miles), the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre said.

The Philippine seismology agency said there was no risk of a tsunami but warned of aftershocks.  

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