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Three popular central islands in the Philippines have been shaken by a powerful earthquake that hit earlier this morning on a national public holiday.
The effects of the 7.2-magnitude quake were felt in Cebu and Bohol, where infrastructure has crumbled and major roads have been ripped open and blocked by landslides. There has been loss of life as well as many people injured.
ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Phil Duloy has been monitoring the disaster:
‘There was a tsunami alert but luckily this came to nothing. Although there has been significant damage to buildings there are still no reports of a need for emergency shelter. However we will continue to watch the updates and monitor the disaster in case further news emerges.’
There are warnings of an increase in fatalities as search and rescue operations continue with the full extent of the damage yet to be assessed.
However relief has been expressed that the disaster happened on a public holiday as this meant there were fewer people than usual in many of the major buildings that suffered damage.
The tremor triggered power outages in parts of Bohol, Cebu and neighbouring areas, according to the country’s national disaster management agency. Strong aftershocks still continue.
There is ShelterBox aid prepositioned in the Filipine city of Clarke including disaster relief tents as well as other vital equipment to enable a speedy response if a need is found.