- The earthquakes struck at night when many were asleep hence the high number of casualties.
- Philippines Geographic location a major contributor to the many earthquakes in the country.
- The two earthquakes had respective magnitudes of 5.4 and 5.9, according to the USGS Geophysical Institute.
Eight people were killed and several dozen others were injured when two successive earthquakes hit the islands of the northern Philippines, in the wee hours of Saturday, July 27th authorities said. The earthquakes occurred a few hours apart in the province of Batanes, a group of small islands located off Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines.
Many terrified residents fled their homes in the middle of the night, and the injured were rushed to hospitals by good samaritans as rescue teams immediately swung into action and continued searching for potential survivors who were trapped in the collapsed houses. Many Filipinos were asleep when the first earthquake occurred Saturday around 4:15 a.m., followed a few hours later by the second, more powerful quake.
The two earthquakes had respective magnitudes of 5.4 and 5.9, according to the USGS Geophysical Institute. They did not give rise to a tsunami warning.
“We have seen houses wobble.”
Raul de Sagon, Mayor of the municipality of Itbayat, in the province of Batanes, told the media that eight people had been killed and about 60 others injured. The mayor was not able to immediately indicate the seriousness of the state of the injured persons.
A police sergeant, Uzi Villa, said that because of the time of the catastrophic occurrence, many residents were asleep in their homes. “We have seen houses wobble. The walls of some houses collapsed and fell on the inhabitants, ” he said, “People died because they were dead asleep because it was late at night.”
“We are used to being hit by typhoons, so the houses here are designed to withstand high winds,” said Mayor de Sagon. “But we were not prepared for such earthquakes.”
The Philippines is squarely located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of high seismic activity, where ninety percent of the world’s earthquake strike. The last deadly earthquake in the Philippines took place in April. At least 11 people were killed by the earthquake that hit an area north of the capital Manila. Another major earthquake that hit the country was a 7.1-magnitude quake that killed more than 220 people in the central of the country in October 2013.
Several years ago, in July 1990, more than 2,400 people were killed in the northern island of Luzon in a 7.8-magnitude quake, one of the strongest tremors ever to hit the country.