Rescue Operations Intensify As Turkey Quake Death Toll Rise To 29

Rescue workers work amid the rubble of a building after an earthquake in Elazig, eastern Turkey, on January 25, 2020. BULENT KILIC / AFP

 

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey rose to 29 as rescue workers raced against time Saturday to find survivors under the rubble.

The magnitude 6.8 quake struck on Friday evening, with its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province, and was felt across neighbouring countries.

The Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said 29 died in Elazig and in nearby Malatya while nearly 1,500 had been injured.

The update came as a quake with a 5.1 magnitude hit Sivrice later Saturday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a speech in Istanbul and attended the funeral of a woman and her son in Elazig. He later visited Malatya.

He vowed the state would do “everything we can” to help those affected in a disaster he described as a “test”.

AFAD said 43 people had been rescued alive from collapsed buildings in Elazig. An estimated 19 others remained trapped in the rubble.

Turkish news channels showed live images of people rescued. Among those pulled out alive was a woman called Azize who had contacted emergency authorities and spoken to a rescue worker by telephone, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Freezing temperatures 

Almost 24 hours after the quake, officials then rescued a woman and her two-year-old child in her arms alive, CNN Turk broadcaster reported.

Over 3,500 search and rescue personnel were working in the region while tens of thousands of beds, blankets and tents have been provided, the presidency said.

The rescue efforts have been taking place in freezing temperatures as wood and plastic were burned to keep crowds warm.

Hundreds of people anxiously waited on the other side of police barriers including a man who gave his name as Mustafa.

“I have three relatives in that building: one man, his wife and her mother,” the 40-year-old told AFP.

“I was home during the earthquake. It lasted for so long, it was like a nightmare. I froze in the living room when it happened, my wife and our two children were screaming and running around,” he said.

He added that some neighbours jumped out of the windows in panic as families including his were forced to spend Friday night on the streets.

Rescuers cleared the rubble one bucket at a time surrounded by broken wooden beams and concrete.

‘Screaming in terror’ 

Sivrice — a town with a population of about 4,000 — is situated south of Elazig city on the shores of Hazar lake — one of the most popular tourist spots in the region and the source of the Tigris river.

The lake is home to a “Sunken City”, with archaeological traces dating back 4,000 years in its waters.

Among the 1,466 people injured were residents in other southeast provinces including Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa.

Tensions were high as one resident accused the government of lying.

“They (the government) claim that only four people are trapped under the rubble. It is not true. I have five relatives in that building,” Suat, a 45-year-old butcher, said.

“There are four floors and three flats per floor. If there were five people per flat, do the math. Why are they lying?”

Suat described the moment when the quake struck as he was at home in another neighbourhood and his children “were screaming in terror”.

The Ankara public prosecutor’s office said it had begun an investigation into “provocative” social media posts but did not give further details.

Erdogan also told citizens to “ignore gossip and negative propaganda”.

 Tremor felt elsewhere 

The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey near the Iraqi and Syrian borders as well as in Iran, Lebanon and Syria.

Officials said 72 buildings had collapsed while 514 were badly damaged and 409 had limited damage in the affected region.

The US Geological Survey assessed the magnitude as 6.7, slightly lower than AFAD, adding that it struck near the East Anatolian Fault in an area that has suffered no documented large ruptures since an earthquake in 1875.

There have been 462 aftershocks including 14 that were above four in magnitude, AFAD said.

In 1999, a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Izmit in western Turkey, leaving more than 17,000 people dead including about 1,000 in Istanbul.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate the city of 15 million people, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.

Such fears were acutely awakened in September last year when a 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul, causing residents to flee buildings in the economic capital.

AFP

Rescue Operations Ongoing To Recover Bodies Of Turkey Earthquake Victims

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake hit Elazig, eastern Turkey, on January 25, 2020.  Ilyas AKENGIN / AFP

 

Rescue workers raced against time Saturday to find survivors under the rubble after a powerful earthquake claimed 22 lives and left more than 1,000 injured in eastern Turkey.

The magnitude 6.8 quake struck on Friday evening, with its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province, and was felt in neighbouring countries.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 39 people have been rescued alive from collapsed buildings in Elazig province, with a further 22 people estimated to be trapped under the rubble. He said the death toll had risen to 22.

Among those found alive was a pregnant woman who was rescued 12 hours after the quake hit, state news agency Anadolu said, while an AFP correspondent saw an individual saved 17 hours later.

Nearly 2,000 search and rescue personnel were sent to the region while thousands of beds, blankets and tents have been provided, the Turkish presidency said.

The rescue efforts have been taking place in freezing temperatures as wood and plastic were burned to keep crowds warm.

Hundreds of people were anxiously waiting on the other side of police barriers including a man who gave his name as Mustafa.

“I have three relatives in that building: one man, his wife and her mother. They are still under the rubble,” the 40-year-old told AFP.

“May God help us, we can do nothing but pray.

“I was home during the earthquake. It lasted for so long, it was like a nightmare. I froze in the living room when it happened, my wife and our two children were screaming and running around,” he said.

He added that some neighbours jumped out of the windows because they panicked as families including his were forced to spend Friday night on the streets.

Some 20 rescuers were on top of the remains of one collapsed building, slowly clearing the rubble one bucket at a time surrounded by broken wooden beams and concrete.

Nearby Ayse Sonmez, 48, wept in silence at the barrier. She was only able to point to one of the heavily damaged buildings and say, “My older sister.”

 ‘Screaming in terror’ 

Sivrice — a town with a population of about 4,000 — is situated south of Elazig city on the shores of Hazar lake — one of the most popular tourist spots in the region and the source of the Tigris river.

The lake is home to a “Sunken City”, with archaeological traces dating back 4,000 years in its waters.

The interior minister said 18 people were killed in Elazig while four died in Malatya.

Among the 1,031 people injured were residents in other provinces in the southeast including Diyarbakir, Batman, Sanliurfa, Adiyaman and Kahramanmaras, the Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said.

Health minister Fahrettin Koca said 128 people were still receiving treatment including 34 in intensive care but added that no one was in a critical condition.

Tensions were high as one resident accused the government of lying.

“They (the government) claim that only four people are trapped under the rubble. It is not true. I have five relatives in that building,” Suat, a 45-year-old butcher, said.

“There are four floors and three flats per floor. If there were five people per flat, do the math. Why are they lying?”

Suat described the moment when the quake struck as he was at home in another Elazig neighbourhood and his children “were screaming in terror.”

The Ankara public prosecutor’s office later on Saturday said it had begun an investigation into “provocative” social media posts but did not give further details.

 Tremors felt elsewhere 

The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey near the Iraqi and Syrian borders as well as in Iran, Lebanon and Syria, local media reported.

Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum told reporters in Elazig that five buildings collapsed following the quake while others were badly or lightly damaged.

The US Geological Survey assessed the magnitude as 6.7, slightly lower than AFAD, adding that it struck near the East Anatolian Fault in an area that has suffered no documented large ruptures since an earthquake in 1875.

According to AFAD, there have been nearly 400 aftershocks following Friday’s quake including 12 that were above four in magnitude.

In 1999, a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Izmit in western Turkey, leaving more than 17,000 people dead including about 1,000 in Istanbul.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate the city of 15 million people, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.

Such fears were acutely awakened in September last year when a 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul, causing residents to flee buildings in the economic capital.

AFP

 

6.0-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chinese Region

 

A 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit a remote area of northwest China’s Xinjiang region late Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.

The shallow quake struck at 9:27 pm (1327 GMT) around 100 kilometers (60 miles) east-northeast of the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar.

In its initial assessment, the USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties.

It said however that significant damage was likely, with many buildings in the region built from mud bricks or cinder block masonry.

The area near the quake’s epicenter is sparsely populated mountain and desert terrain.

China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially in its mountainous western and southwestern regions.

In February 2003 a powerful 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Xinjiang and caused significant damage.

AFP

NGSA Dismisses Report Of Earthquake In Abuja

 

The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) has denied the claim that an earthquake hit a part of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Deputy Director of NGSA, Abba Usman, told reporters during an interview at the agency’s office over the weekend that the report of a quake happening in Abuja was false.

A lecturer from the Department of Geology at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Osun State had said a 3.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the nation’s capital on Friday last week.

But Usman insisted that none of the agency’s equipment picked up any seismic activity in Abaji, about 176 kilometres away from the Abuja city centre.

He faulted the research method used by the lecturer to make his claims, stressing that it was not the first time he has made similar claims which after scrutiny turned out to be false.

 

During a visit to the scene where the earthquake was alleged to have happened (Abaji), Channels TV crew could not find any visible sign of an earth tremor.

Also, none of the eyewitnesses interviewed could corroborate the lecturer’s claims while a further visit was made to Takwura village, the actual location given by the lecturer.

The buildings there were found to be intact with the villagers saying they felt nothing.

6.2-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Indonesia’s Northwest

 

A strong earthquake jolted Indonesia’s northwest on Tuesday, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The 6.2 magnitude quake struck at a depth of 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) just off the coast of Simeulue island, west of Sumatra, according to the US Geological Survey.

Indonesia’s weather and geophysics bureau said there was no tsunami threat.

People panicked and ran outside their homes when the quake hit.

“We are now watching at the beach to monitor the movement of seawater,” Simeulue resident Ahmadi told AFP.

No casualties or infrastructure damage have been reported so far.

Indonesia suffers frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.

More than 2,200 people died and another 1,000 were declared missing in 2018 after a 7.5 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami on Sulawesi island.

A 9.1 magnitude earthquake on Boxing Day in 2004 struck Aceh province, causing a tsunami that claimed the lives of more than 170,000 people in Indonesia alone.

AFP

Rescuers Search For Survivors Of Deadly Philippine Quake

Police forensic investigators work over bodies retrieved from a collapsed building (background) in Padada town, Davao del Sur province on the southern island of Mindanao on December 16, 2019, following a 6.8-magnitude earthquake on December 15.  Manman Dejeto / AFP

 

Rescuers in the southern Philippines used heavy equipment and their bare hands on Monday in hopes of finding several people feared trapped beneath a building toppled by a powerful earthquake that claimed at least three lives.

Sunday’s tremor cracked schools, toppled homes and injured dozens but largely spared big cities on the island of Mindanao, which is still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.

Searchers have pulled survivors from the collapsed market building in the town of Padada, but were still looking for a person who had texted authorities saying six people were trapped under the rubble.

“The person can no longer be reached,” fire official Fred Trajeras told reporters, adding that rescuers’ held out hope survivors could be found.

A young child was killed when a family home collapsed near the epicentre, and searchers pulled the bodies of two victims from the collapsed market building.

However applause erupted after Lesley Jane Gatos, 31, was pulled from the rubble on Sunday, shortly after the tremor.

Gatos used her phone to call for help and then began making noise to attract the attention of rescuers, who reached her after clearing a path in the debris.

“Finally I was able to get out. I saw people. They clapped because I was the first one rescued,” she told AFP.

The collapsed building was near the epicentre of the 6.8 magnitude quake and is in the same region that was hit by three tremors above 6.0 in a matter of weeks in October.

Those quakes killed some two dozen people and forced tens of thousands into shelters as well as heavily damaging homes and offices.

The Philippines is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Searchers were fanning out across the quake-hit areas of Mindanao on to fully assess the damage, but have already reported several schools and hospitals were cracked.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao and was there during the quake, was not hurt.

“The first lady… said the car she was riding (in) was swaying,” spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

AFP

4.5-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Italy

 

A 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit the central Italian region of Mugello on Monday, sending panicked residents into the streets but causing minimal damage to buildings.

The quake, centred some 31 km (19 miles) northeast of Florence in Tuscany, hit at 4:37 am (0330 GMT), after a series of smaller quakes, according to the national institute for geophysics and vulcanology (INGV).

Residents fled their buildings in the rain,  congregating outside or in their cars to await authorities.

“The quake went on for awhile, especially the first one, things fell down at a supermarket but for the moment we haven’t seen any damage to people or things,” said Filippo Carla’ Campa, mayor of the town of Vicchio.

A resident of Barberino del Mugello said his neighbours were panicking getting out of the building.

“Paintings fell off the walls, bookcases fell over,” he told Rai 24.

In Barberino del Mugello, the 17th century church suffered a crack in one side, television images showed.

Schools were closed in the region and some trains through Florence were cancelled or delayed.

Italy is frequently struck by seismic activity, often devastating. Most recently, a series of strong quakes hit central Italy in late 2016 and early 2017, killing 300 people.

In 1919, the area was hit by an earthquake that killed 100 people.

AFP

Death Toll Hits 40 In Albania Earthquake

A picture taken on November 26, 2019 shows a collapsed building in Thumane, northwest of capital Tirana, after an earthquake hit Albania. Armend NIMANI / AFP

 

 

The death toll from the most powerful earthquake to strike Albania in decades rose to 40 on Thursday, after 10 more bodies were pulled from the rubble overnight, the defence ministry said.

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the Balkan state before dawn on Tuesday, levelling buildings and trapping bodies underneath the wreckage in towns near the Adriatic coast.

“Ten more victims were found during the night, bringing the number of dead to 40,” the ministry said in a statement.

With the help of experts flown in from across Europe, rescuers have been working tirelessly to clear away the debris of collapsed apartments and hotels in the coastal city of Durres and the town of Thumane, the two areas hardest hit by the quake.

Forty-six people have been pulled out alive so far and have been hospitalised, the defence ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

The number of people who may still be buried in the rubble is unknown.

Hundreds of aftershocks have continued to rattle the country, sparking panic and temporarily halting search efforts.

Among some 650 who were injured, at least 10 are seriously wounded, the health ministry said.

Thousands have been displaced, either because their homes were severely damaged or because it is still unsafe to return home because of the aftershocks.

AFP

Over 20 Dead As Albania Hunts For Earthquake Survivors

Emergency workers look for survivors trough the rubble of a damaged building in the coastal city of Durres, west of capital Tirana, after an earthquake hit Albania, on November 26, 2019. Gent SHKULLAKU / AFP

 

Albanian rescuers searched rubble through the night looking for survivors trapped in buildings that toppled Tuesday in the strongest earthquake to hit the country in decades, with more than 20 dead and hundreds injured.

Teams of soldiers, police and emergency workers sifted through the debris of shredded apartment blocks and hotels in towns near Albania’s northwest Adriatic coast, close to the epicentre of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rattled the country before dawn.

By evening the toll was 22 dead, according to the defence ministry.

Most were pulled from wreckage in the coastal city of Durres and Thumane, a town north of the capital Tirana.

In neighbouring Kurbin a man in his fifties died in the morning after jumping from his building in panic. Another perished in a car accident after the earthquake tore open parts of the road, the ministry said.

More than 40 people have also been retrieved alive in marathon rescue efforts that continued with headlamps and spotlights after the sun went down.

“The rescue teams will continue all night,” defence ministry spokeswoman Albana Qehajaj told AFP.

“We must be careful because the night makes any operation more difficult,” she added.

Earlier in Thumane, locals watching emergency workers comb over a collapsed building shouted the names of their loved ones still inside: “Mira!”, “Ariela!”, “Selvije!”.

Dulejman Kolaveri, a man in his 50s in Thumane, told AFP he feared his 70-year-old mother and six-year-old niece were trapped inside the five-storey apartment, because they lived on the top floor.

“I don’t know if they are dead or alive. I’m afraid of their fate… only God knows,” he said with trembling hands.

There were also brief bursts of joy during the day as rescuers delicately extracted survivors.

One thin, middle-aged man covered in a film of grey dust was seen being carried out of the rubble on a stretcher in Thumane.

In Durres, onlookers cheered “Bravo!” as a team used ropes to rescue a young man from the wreckage of a toppled seaside hotel in a two-hour operation.

Night In The stadium

Afraid to return home after a series of powerful aftershocks, hundreds of people in Durres took shelter for the night in tents set up in the city’s football stadium.

The health ministry said that more than 600 people have received first aid for injuries, mostly minor.

During a visit to victims in a hospital in Tirana, Prime Minister Edi Rama told local media that Wednesday would be a national “day of mourning”.

“We have lost human lives, we have also saved a lot of lives,” he said.

Some 300 local soldiers and 1,900 police were sent to Durres and Thumane to assist with the rescue efforts, according to authorities.

Aid also poured in from around Europe, with teams from Italy, Greece and Romania among those deployed to help.

Albania’s cities and coastline have undergone rapid development in recent decades, and illegal construction ignoring building codes is rife.

Felt Across the Balkans

Tuesday’s quake was the strongest to hit the Durres region since 1926, seismologist Rrapo Ormeni told local television.

Albanian authorities described it as the most powerful in the last 20-30 years.

It struck at 3:54 am local time (0254 GMT), with an epicentre 34 kilometres (about 20 miles) northwest of Tirana, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

In Tirana, panicked residents ran out onto the streets and huddled together after the quake struck.

Several powerful aftershocks followed, including one of 5.3 magnitude.

The tremors were felt across the Balkans, from Sarajevo to Belgrade and the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad almost 700 kilometres away, according to reports in local media and on social networks.

The Balkan peninsula lies near the fault line of two large tectonic plates — the African and Eurasian — and earthquakes are frequent.

The movements of the small Adriatic micro-plate also produces earthquakes, according to Kresimir Kuk from the Croatian seismological institute.

The most devastating quake in recent times hit North Macedonia’s capital Skopje in July 1963, killing around a thousand people and destroying some 80 percent of the city.

Four Dead, 150 Injured In Albania Earthquake

Emergency workers clear debris at a damaged building in Thumane, 34 kilometres (about 20 miles) northwest of capital Tirana, after an earthquake hit Albania, on November 26, 2019. Four people died and some 150 were slightly injured in Albania after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, the strongest in decades, rocked the Balkan country early Tuesday. PHOTO: GENT SHKULLAKU / AFP

 

Four people died and some 150 were slightly injured after a powerful 6.4 magnitude rocked Albania early on Tuesday, authorities said. 

A man in his fifties jumped out of his building in the town of Kurbin in a panic and died, the defence ministry said.

The bodies of a man and a woman were removed from rubble in Thumane, north of the capital Tirana, it said. A fourth body was found in the coastal town of Durres.

At least 150 people with injuries were being treated in hospitals in Tirana and Durres, Health Minister Ogerta Manasterliu said.

‘Thankful For Life’: Japan Disaster Survivors Meet Pope

Pope Francis (front, R) greets a man, one of ten disaster victims during a meeting with the victims of triple disaster in Tokyo on November 25, 2019. Pope Francis called for renewed efforts to help victims of Japan’s 2011 “triple disaster” of earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima meltdown, noting “concern” in the country over the continued use of nuclear power. Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

 

 

Survivors of Japan’s so-called “triple disaster”, the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, told Pope Francis on Monday they were “thankful for being given life” and urged solidarity with victims.

Toshiko Kato was at her job as head of a Catholic kindergarten in Iwate region when the quake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. The massive waves that killed nearly 16,000 people caused enormous destruction, including sweeping away her home.

“That morning, I could not have known that the daily life I had known before I left the house would end, that in an instant many people would die,” she told Francis.

“I remember that when I stood in the rubble where my home had been, I was thankful for being given life, for being alive, and for just being able to appreciate it.”

And Kato said she felt she had “received much more than I lost.”

“Many people from all over the world opened their hearts and I was able to find hope from seeing people come together to help one another,” she said.

“Life is the most important thing, and no good life is lost.”

The human cost of the quake and tsunami was enormous — with 18,500 dead or missing. The meltdown itself killed no one, but more than 3,700 people who survived the triple disaster later died as a result of complications related to evacuations.

Nearly half a million people fled their homes in the first days after the quake and even today, roughly 50,000 remain in temporary housing.

‘I Wanted To Die’

Among those forced to evacuate was Matsuki Kamoshita, who was eight when the nuclear meltdown happened.

His father, a teacher, remained in Fukushima region to help his students, while Kamoshita and his three-year-old brother moved from place to place with their mother.

“My brother would burrow into his futon and cry. I was bullied… and every day was so painful I wanted to die,” he told Francis, speaking steadily before the crowd.

“Eventually, my father got mentally and physically ill and stopped working. Even so, I still think we are fortunate because we were able to evacuate.”

Japan’s government has been encouraging people who evacuated to return to areas that have now been declared safe after extensive decontamination.

But many fear their former homes are not really safe, and others are reluctant to return to what have in some cases become ghost towns, with few services, particularly for young families.

In his address to survivors, Francis called for renewed efforts to support the victims of the disaster.

“In this way, those who are suffering will be supported and know that they have not been forgotten,” he said.

“We cannot fully convey our suffering,” Kamoshita told Francis, who he hugged after delivering his remarks.

“Pray with us, Holy Father, that we can appreciate each other’s pain and love our neighbours. Pray that even in this cruel reality, we will be given the courage not to turn our eyes away.”

One Dead As Strong 6.4-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Philippines

 

A child was killed in a strong 6.4-magnitude quake that hit the southern Philippines on Wednesday, a local mayor said, as houses collapsed, power was knocked out and a shopping mall burst into flames.

Residents evacuated homes and buildings across the Mindanao region including a mall that caught fire in the city of General Santos shortly after the quake struck in the evening, officials said.

The child died in a house collapse in the town of Datu Paglas, while four residents of nearby Tulunan town were injured when at least two other houses fell down, Tulunan Mayor Reuel Limbungan told AFP.

“The child was crushed by a collapsed house wall” and pronounced dead in hospital, Limbungan said, adding that he had visited the medical facility and spoken to its director.

Rescue and local officials said there were no immediate reports of deaths elsewhere in Mindanao, and rescue official Anthony Allada told local television that 20 people were treated for injuries in the town of Magsaysay, near the epicentre.

The quake was 14 kilometres (8.6 miles) deep and was followed by at least two aftershocks, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

“It was the most powerful earthquake I have ever experienced,” Sara Duterte, mayor of the largest Mindanao city of Davao and daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, told local television.

The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

 Falling debris 

An elderly man was treated for injuries after being struck by a falling object as a Davao mall was evacuated, local TV reported.

Jerome Barranco, civil defence officer for the region, said several people were also injured in the city of Kidapawan “as a result of falling debris”.

In General Santos, television footage showed firemen battling a raging blaze that engulfed the three-storey Gaisano shopping mall.

It was not known if there were still people inside the building, which was evacuated as the quake struck.

Coastal residents of Davao fled their homes in fear of a tsunami, but rescue workers were trying to convince them to return as no warning was issued, city civil defence chief Rodrigo Bustillo told local television.

“Our volunteers are out to calm the people and tell them there is no tsunami,” Bustillo added.

Chief Philippine government seismologist Renato Solidum said there was no risk of a tsunami because it occurred inland, but he advised residents to check their homes for possible damage.

“We ran out of the police station, and we also let the inmates at the municipal jail out,” patrolwoman Celina Sarte told AFP by telephone from the town of Bansalan.

She said the 10 prisoners were put in handcuffs outside moments later.

AFP