Philippines natural disaster kills at least 11, 24 missing

PORAC, Philippines - Rescue teams in the Philippines searched for signs of life beneath the rubble of a collapsed four-story commercial building on Tuesday after a strong quake shook the country's biggest island, killing at least 11 people.

Fourteen of the dead were from Pampanga province, among the hardest hit after a 6.1-magnitude quake struck at 5:11 p.m. local time on Monday, according to the authorities.

The institute said the quake, which struck at 1:37 p.m. local time, hit at a depth of 63 km, about 19 km northwest of San Julian town in Eastern Samar province.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Classes and office work were suspended in San Julian, where cracks on roads, small buildings, and a church were reported.

At least 24 people remained missing in the rice-growing agricultural region, a lot of them in the rubble of the collapsed supermarket in Porac, while 81 others were injured, according to the government's disaster-response agency.

"We're all very happy, many clapped their hands in relief because we're still finding survivors after several hours", Porac Councilor Maynard Lapid told The Associated Press by telephone from the scene, adding another victim was expected to be pulled out alive soon. On Tuesday morning, rescuers pulled out a man alive, sparking cheers and applause.

Rescuers have drilled a large tube to blow in oygen into the wreckage of Chuzon supermarket to help those trapped to breathe. In 2013, a major tremor hit Cebu and Bohol provinces in central Philippines, killing more than 200 people.

Clark airport, which straddles parts of Pampanga and services 8,000 passengers a day, remained closed for a second day. Many described the ground movement like sea waves.

This is the second natural disaster that jolted the Philippines in less than 24 hours.

The Bureau of the Treasury moved Tuesday's auction of 20 billion pesos ($385 million) worth of 20-year bonds to April 24.

Four bodies have been recovered from the store after a 6.1-magnitude quake hit the northern Philippines early yesterday.

  • Jon Douglas