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8 people killed, dozens trapped as buildings collapse in Philippines quake – official

8 people killed, dozens trapped as buildings collapse in Philippines quake – official
At least eight people have been killed in the northern Philippines after an earthquake destroyed several buildings there, a local official said, adding that dozens could be trapped under the rubble.

The 6.0 magnitude tremor hit on Monday about 55 km NW of the Philippines capital Manila, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). Its focus is estimated to be 40km deep. The US Geological Survey (USGS) initially said the magnitude of the quake was 6.3 but later scaled it down to 6.1.

The province of Pampanga was the worst-hit one, its governor, Lilia Pineda told Reuters, adding that eight people died in the quake.

Three people were crushed when a building collapsed in the town of Porac, Pineda said. Two other victims, an elderly woman and her grandchild, were killed in a building collapse in the town of Lubao. She did not provide any details about three more victims, though.

Some 20 people were injured as a result of the disaster while dozens allegedly remain trapped under the rubble after a four-story building went down, crushing a supermarket located on the ground floor, the governor said.

“They can be heard crying in pain,” Pineda told Reuters by phone. “It won’t be easy to rescue them.”

The governor added that the tremor caused a blackout, hampering the response and rescue efforts in her province. The official said that the neighboring province of Zambales was affected as well, with reports of a church collapsing in the town of Castillejos.

In the capital, the train system was suspended after the quake to ensure that it was safe for operation, according to local media. However, no reports of damage emerged from Manila in the immediate aftermath.

Pampanga’s international airport at Clark, a former US military base, was closed following the quake, which damaged some buildings there, including the check-in areas. All flights to and from the airport were canceled.

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