Eight people were killed and around 60 injured when twin earthquakes of magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 struck islands in the northern Philippines early Saturday (Jul 27) while many were still asleep.
The first pre-dawn quake caused five of the casualties, who were buried in collapsed houses, according to the national civil defence office. Three more people were killed when they were hit by falling debris in the following tremors,
Both tremors hit the province of Batanes, north of the nation’s largest Luzon island.
Terrified residents fled their homes and images in the Philippine media showed collapsed masonry homes as well as deep cracks in paved roads.
The quakes struck within hours of each other, according to the US Geological Survey. No tsunami alerts were issued. The first tremor struck around 4.15am, followed just under four hours later by the second stronger jolt.
Police sergeant Uzi Villa added that the timing of the quake meant many people were at home when the first quake struck.
The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.