Death toll climbs to at least 16 as 2nd powerful earthquake rattles Philippines
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 24, 2019, 6:06:44 AM EDT
A pair of strong earthquakes have left at least 16 dead in the Philippines this week as search and rescue efforts continue.
A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Monday and was followed by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on the central Philippine island of Samar on Tuesday.
Monday's earthquake was centered about 60 km (37 miles) northwest of the capital city of Manila, which is home to more than 12 million people. Its magnitude was initially rated as strong as 6.4.
At least 16 fatalities have been confirmed so far, with most of these in Pampanga province, according to Pampanga governor Lilia Pineda. Dozens of other people were injured due to collapsed buildings and walls in the province.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing for at least 24 missing individuals, according to the Philippine Red Cross.
The earthquake damaged a church in northern Pampanga province and also caused boulders to roll down a mountain, blocking a highway in the region, according to the Associated Press.
Metro Rail Transit suspended operations for the remainder of Monday following the quake to allow workers to check the integrity of the track throughout the network.
Power disruptions were reported in the provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Pampanga and Bataan.
A Reuters journalist in the city of Manila reported that buildings were swaying in the city's business district.
Several flights into and out of the northern Philippines were delayed or canceled following the earthquake.
All classes in Manila were canceled on Tuesday so that safety inspections could occur, according to The LaSallian.
Damage to buildings and multiple injuries have been reported following Tuesday's earthquake in Samar.
The earthquake was centered less than 50 miles from Tacloban City, home to almost 250,000 people. Tacloban City was heavily damaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which claimed more than 6,000 lives.
Several roadways were also damaged, with visible cracks seen in photos and videos posted on social media.
Three dams in the central Philippines were damaged and are in need of immediate repair following Tuesday's earthquake, according to the National Irrigation Administration.
Homes and businesses in the region were evacuated as a precaution following the earthquake.
Dry and warm weather is expected across central and northern parts of the Philippines into Friday, aiding in any rescue and recovery efforts.
The Philippines is located on the "Ring of Fire", a seismically active band of volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean.
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