Deadly Philippine quake hits Bohol and Cebu

Survivors of the quake have been sleeping in the open, as Jonathan Josephs reports

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At least 93 people have been reported dead after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the central Philippines.

The quake happened at 08:12 (00:12 GMT) on a national holiday. The US Geological Survey said it struck below the island of Bohol, where officials reported most casualties.

People were also killed in the province of Cebu.

Historic churches were among the many damaged buildings, and stampedes were reported in two cities.

At least 69 of those confirmed dead were from Bohol, according to reports citing disaster management officials.

Fifteen people are known to have been killed in Cebu, and another was reported dead on the neighbouring island of Siquijor.

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Dozens of others are also being treated for injuries.

Search and rescue operations are being conducted, with rescuers finding themselves hampered by damaged roads.

At least five people died when part of a fishing port collapsed in Cebu, and two others were also reported dead when a roof fell at a market.

At least three people also died during a stampede at a sports complex in Cebu, provincial disaster chief Neil Sanchez said.

"There was panic when the quake happened and there was a rush toward the exit," he told AFP.

The tremor triggered power cuts in parts of Bohol, Cebu and neighbouring areas, say reports citing the country's disaster management agency.

Officials from Bohol and Cebu have declared a state of emergency in their respective provinces, local media say.

An official from the government agency which monitors earthquake activity was quoted as saying that this was the strongest tremor felt in the area in the last 23 years.

President Benigno Aquino is expected to visit the affected areas on Wednesday.

The collapsed facade of the San Pedro y San Pablo church in Loboc town, Bohol province A 7.2 quake struck underneath Bohol island, damaging structures like this old church in Loboc town.
Residents walk along huge cracks in a road after an earthquake struck Bohol province, central Philippines, October 15, 2013. A huge crack has appeared in a road in Bohol province as a result of the earthquake.
Workers use a crane to lift up concrete block that fell on a car after buildings collapsed during an earthquake in Cebu city, central Philippines, 15 October 2013 Damage was also reported in neighbouring Cebu, about an hour away by plane from the capital, Manila.
People gather on the street next to damaged buildings in Cebu city, Philippines, after a major 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the region on 15 October 2013 People ran out onto the streets in Cebu - one of the country's major cities.
A police officer surveys the damage following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu city A police officer surveys the damage in Cebu city.
Hospital patients are evacuated after an earthquake struck Cebu city, in central Philippines 15 October 2013 Many were also evacuated from buildings, like this hospital in Cebu, where patients were led to safer areas.
Rescuers shift through the rubble to recover an unidentified man at a fish port in Pasil, Cebu, central Philippines, 15 October 2013 At least five people died when part of this port building collapsed in Cebu.

Edgardo Chatto, the governor of Bohol, said a city hall building was damaged on the island.

Heavy damage to roads, bridges and historic churches, some dating back to the Spanish colonial period in the 1500s and the 1600s, was also reported in Bohol and Cebu.

British man David Venables, who has lived in Cebu for seven years, said it was the strongest quake he had experienced.

"It's a very strange and frightening experience when the very foundations of the house and surrounding area shake uncontrollably," he said.

Bonita Cabiles, a resident of Mandaue city in Cebu, told the BBC she was woken up when she felt the ground rumbling.

She said there was a lot of structural damage in the area, including to the bell tower of the Santo Nino church in Cebu, one of the most well-known churches in the country.

It was fortunate that it was a national holiday and the students were not in school, she said.

There were reports of aftershocks following the quake.

The Philippine Red Cross said in a statement that they had mobilised staff and volunteers to affected areas.

Cebu province, with a population of more than 2.6 million, is about an hour away by plane from Manila.

Neighbouring Bohol, a favourite of tourists because of its sandy beaches, is a short boat ride away from Cebu.

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