MANILA, Philippines - A powerful nighttime earthquake in the southern Philippines killed at least four people, injured more than 120 others, damaged buildings and an airport and knocked out power, officials said Saturday.
The late Friday quake with a magnitude of 6.5 roused residents from sleep in Surigao del Norte province, sending hundreds to flee their homes. The quake was centered about 14 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of the provincial capital of Surigao at a relatively shallow depth of 11 kilometers (6.8 miles), said Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology.
Nearly 100 aftershocks have been felt, officials said, adding that schools were being reopened as evacuation centers for residents wary of returning to their damaged homes.
Solidum said the quake was set off by movement in the Philippine fault, which sits in the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where quakes and volcanoes are common.
At least four people were killed, some after being hit by falling debris and blunt objects, provincial disaster-response official Gilbert Gonzales said, correcting an earlier report by a regional hospital, which reported 15 residents who were rushed in with injuries as dead. At least 126 others were injured in Surigao city, about 700 kilometers (430 miles) southeast of Manila.
The city’s airport was temporarily closed due to cracks in the runway, aviation officials said. A major port in Lipata district also was closed while engineers checked the stability of an access road, Gonzales said.
The last major earthquake that struck Surigao, an impoverished region also dealing with a communist insurgency, was in the 1800s, Solidum said. A magnitude 7.7 quake killed nearly 2,000 people on the northern island of Luzon in 1990.
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