Eight people were killed when at least two buildings collapsed as a 6.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Luzon.
Three bodies have been pulled out of a collapsed building in the town of Porac, while an old woman and her grandchild were crushed to death by another building in the town of Lubao, Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda told ABS-CBN television.
“We believe there are still people trapped in the four-story building,” Pineda said, adding that 20 people have so far been rescued and taken to hospital as night fell.
“It’s difficult because there is no power, so we’re still trying to get hold of a generator to be able to rescue the people inside,” she added.
Five people died and at least 40 others were trapped in the Chuzon supermarket, also in Porac, after the building collapsed.
The earthquake felt at 5:11 p.m., sent thousands of people fleeing high-rises in Metro Manila as high-rise buildings swayed, as they are designed to do during temblor.
The quake caused serious damage to Clark International Airport.
Damage was still being assessed, but residents posted photos on social media showing cracked walls and light fixtures swinging in the moments after the quake.
Clark International Airport Corp. president Jim Melo announced the airport’s closure for 24 hours due to damage in its terminal.
“Operation is temporarily suspended except for en route flights,” he said Monday night.
Old churches in Porac and Lubao were also damaged.
No casualties were reported in the municipality of Castillejos, Zambales, the epicenter of the earthquake.
In Metro Manila, workers piled out onto the streets as emergency alarms blared. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Feliza Villanueva, 21, a business process outsourcing employee said she and four colleagues were at work when the quake struck.
“This was the second strongest quake I’ve felt in my entire life,” she said as she joined hundreds of others in the courtyard of an office building, waiting for the all clear.
“We were worried but we did not panic,” she said.
“We planned how to evacuate the building. There were too many people going down the stairs, so we waited for our turn. People looked in shock, but no one was shouting or anything like that,” she said.
The quake, of tectonic origin, was centered on the town of Castillejos, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila, geologists said.
Scientists from the US Geological Survey logged its magnitude at 6.3 and said its epicenter was 40 kilometers below the Earth’s surface.
Dani Justo, a martial arts instructor, said she was at her Manila home when the quake struck.
“The clothes hanging on our line were really swaying. My shih tzu [dog] dropped flat on the ground,” she added.
The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the tremor could have originated from the Manila Trench or a fault line in Zambales.
Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the public must brace for aftershocks, noting that 17 had been felt as of 5:53 p.m.
The Manila International Airport Authority on Monday said there was no damage to the airport´s runways and taxiways following the earthquake.
Terminal facilities are functioning with no reports of downtime, said MIAA chief information officer Connie Bungag.
She said inspection of possible effects of the earthquake on airport structures is ongoing.
Cebu Pacific Air announced it would cancel several flights scheduled on Monday evening flying out of Clark, where officials reported damage to the airport.
In Makati, the search and rescue units went around the city to check for possible damage in buildings and other infrastructure.
Rapid Damage Assessment was ongoing in all Makati City Hall buildings, where minor cracks were reported.
The Metro Manila Development Authority, meanwhile, dispatched several buses to offer free rides to commuters affected by the shutdown of the urban train service following the earthquake Monday.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, initially informed the Department of Energy that the earthquake caused a drop in the available capacity of 2009 MW.
The NGCP issued a red alert notice at 5:20 p.m., after the GN Power, Anda, Limay, SCPC, and the two units of Kalayaan plants were affected by the earthquake. With Rio N. Araja, Joel Zurbano, PNA, and AFP