Philippine earthquake leaves dozens dead

Centuries-old churches were damaged in the earthquake, including the 16th-century Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu City, Philippines. Video by AP

An earthquake struck the town of Catigbian on the Phillipine island of Bohol early Tuesday morning, approximately 384 miles southeast of Manila.

The AP reports the death toll has risen to at least 93 as rescue teams attempt to reach people trapped in collapsed buildings, including patients at a Bohol hospital. There were at least five people killed during stampedes, prompted by individuals panicked by the strong tremors, the provincial disaster management officer Neil Sanchez told the AP. A magnitude seven earthquake has an energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs,” director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said to The New York Times. “This one had a magnitude of 7.2.”

According to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports, the Philippine Islands “straddle a region of complex tectonics at the intersection of three major tectonic plates,” which makes the islands susceptible to large, damaging earthquakes. The USGS also reports that the region within 500 km of the Oct. 15 earthquake has hosted 19 events of magnitude 6 or greater.

H/T Ellen Rolfes