Philippines quake toll increases to 16

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Manila, April 23 (IANS) The death toll in Monday’s 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the Philippines’ Luzon Island has increased to 16, amid ongoing efforts to rescue around 30 missing people who were trapped under a collapsed commercial centre, authorities said on Tuesday.

Fifteen of the victims were from the Pampanga province, in the central part of the island and some 100 km north of Manila, according to latest figures provided by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Lilia Pineda, governor of Pampanga, urged the central government to declare a state of emergency so that provincial authorities can provide assistance to survivors and help those whose homes have been destroyed or damaged, reports Efe news.

So far, nine people have been rescued from the four-storey mall in Porac that collapsed, while five people have been confirmed dead.

According to the NDRRMC, 81 people have been injured and 14 others remain missing.

Roads, bridges, railway lines and Clark International Airport all sustained severe damages.

The airport would remain closed until at least Wednesday morning, airport officials told local media.

A 17th-century church in Porac was also severely damaged after its bell tower fell.

Over 400 aftershocks have been registered following the quake, although most were of low intensity.

The earthquake was followed by another temblor of 6.3-magnitude in Eastern Samar province, located in the central part of the Philippines, on Tuesday, although no casualties have been reported.

The Philippines is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region of high volcanic and seismic activities, that is shaken every year by some 7,000, mostly-moderate, quakes.

–IANS

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