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Philippines Earthquake: 70-Plus Killed as 7.1 Quake Hits Bohol Island

Image: Philippines Earthquake: 70-Plus Killed as 7.1 Quake Hits Bohol Island The bell of Cebu City's Basilica of the Holy Child, the Philippines' oldest church, lies amidst rubble.

By Clyde Hughes   |   Tuesday, 15 Oct 2013 07:46 AM

The Philippines was rocked by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake Tuesday morning, which killed more than 70 people. The nation is in the beginning stages of assessing the damage.

CNN reported that the majority of those who died were killed by falling rubble. More than 30 people were listed as missing, as there are people trapped in buildings in Cebu and Bohol.

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The U.S. Geological Survey noted that the earthquake's epicenter was near the city of Catigbian, on Bohol Island, 385 miles southeast of Manila. There were no threats of a tsunami associated with the earthquake.

Catigbian has a population of 23,000, according to CNN.

Agence France-Presse reported that the earthquake was followed by at least four aftershocks measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude.

At least 73 died, and the death toll is expected to rise throughout the day as authorities work through roads and collapsed buildings to find victims. Authorities said the worst areas are still inaccessible. 

Witnesses say the tremor knocked down modern buildings and heavily damaged historic churches, resulting in stampedes of fightened people down streets. 

"I was thrown to the ground by the strength of the quake. Broken glass rained on me," Elmo Alinsunorin, a guard at a government tax office in Cebu, told AFP. "I thought I was going to die."

Maryann Zamora, of the charity World Vision, said she saw glass and concrete across the streets of Cebu City, about 37 miles north of the epicenter.

"Right now we are in the streets because it is unsafe to be inside," she told CNN.

The region, which is part of the Philippines Sea Plate boundary, has a long history of major earthquakes. More than 110,000 people were killed over the years from Japanese earthquakes in Kanto in 1923, Fukui earthquakes in 1948 and Kobe earthquakes in 1995. Taiwan faced earthquakes in Chi-Chi in 1935 and 1999, which resulted in nearly 6,000 casualties, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Two Philippines earthquakes, one in 1976 at the Moro Gulf and one in 1990 in Luzon, killed 7,100 and 2,400 people, respectively.

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