Strong shaking in Philippines kills one, damages quarantine center

MANILA (Reuters) – A magnitude 6.6 earthquake shook the Philippines Tuesday, killing at least one person and damaging roads and buildings, including a hospital and a sports complex used as a new coronavirus quarantine center.

A partially damaged building is seen in the middle of a rubble in the province of Masbate, August 18, 2020, after an earthquake struck the Philippines. Philippine Red Cros Masbate / Handout via REUTERS This image was provided by a third party. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

It was the strongest earthquake in eight months in the Philippines, located on the ‘Ring of Fire’, a seismically active belt of volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean.

“My things at home fell down and the walls of my neighbors cracked and some collapsed,” Rodrigo Gonhuran, 30, told Reuters from the central city of Cataingan, which has a population of more than 50,000 people and in the neighborhood of the epicenter.

One man, a retired police colonel, was killed when his three-story house collapsed while four people suffered minor injuries, provincial administrator Rino Revalo told radio station DZMM.

Patients were evacuated from a hospital in tents due to cracks in the building, Revalo said.

Engineers inspected a damaged sports complex to see if it was safe to place people staying there in quarantine after returning from the capital Manila, he said.

People returning to their homes in the provinces from the capital must spend time in quarantine.

The Philippines, with a population of 107 million, has the most cases of coronavirus in Southeast Asia with more than 164,000 confirmed infections and 2,681 deaths.

The quake struck at sea at a depth of 30 km (18.64 miles), said the European Mediterranean Seismological Center.

The Philippine seismology agency said there was no risk of a tsunami, but warned of aftershocks.

Report by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and Neil Jerome Morales in Manila; Edited by Ed Davies, Robert Birsel

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