The number of dead is now approaching one hundred in the Philippines earthquake, which hit three popular tourist islands early on Tuesday morning.
The tremor hit on a public holiday, meaning many public administrations were closed, leading to a certain amount of initial confusion. The shocks were especially strong in the Cebu region, and felt in the provincial capital Cebu, a city of two and a half million people that serves as an economic, political, cultural and educational crossroads for the archipelago.
Ten churches, all built in the 1500s, were seriously damaged.
“The earthquake stopped, but there was another tremor, so we rushed out again. All of us tried to get away, but there was a big chunk of concrete that fell from the upper floors,” said one man.
The initial 7.1 quake was followed by at least four magnitude five shocks, which cut power lines and roads, and collapsed bridges and many of the region’s old buildings.
Siquijor and Bohol islands were also badly hit. In one place people died in a panic stampede when the shock hit; in another when the church they were praying in collapsed.