7.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Northern Philippines

Officials said a strong earthquake struck the northern Philippines on Wednesday morning, shaking buildings and causing some to collapse.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the magnitude 7.0 quake struck at 8:43 at a depth of 10 km, or 6 miles. The epicenter was in the northwest of Luzon, the country’s most populous island.

“This is a big earthquake,” Renato U. Solidum, head of the institute, said in an interview with a local radio station. He added that it was felt with “relatively moderate intensity” hundreds of miles away in the capital, Manila.

There were no reports of casualties. But officials released photos from Abra province, where the quake struck, showing damaged buildings, some partially collapsed.

Other official photos from the city of Baguio, in nearby Benguet province, show patients sheltering in hospital grounds after being evacuated. One person in a wheelchair, attended by medical staff.

Joy Bernos, deputy governor of Abra province, said in a radio broadcast Wednesday morning that residents there still experience aftershocks about every 15 minutes.

The extent of Abra’s damage was not immediately apparent. Ms Bernos said initial reports indicated that several bridges had collapsed.

The Institute of Seismology initially reported that the quake had a magnitude of 7.3, but later downgraded its estimate.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, lies along the so-called Ring of Fire, an area where tectonic plates sometimes grind against each other to cause deadly earthquakes.

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