MANILA, Philippines - A total of 93 people have been confirmed killed, more than 12 hours after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck Central Visayas on Tuesday.
Chief Superintendent Danilo Constantino, Central Visayas police regional office director, said majority of the fatalities were recorded in Bohol province, where the epicenter of the temblor was recorded.
Constantino said 77 bodies have been recovered in parts of Bohol. Reports said 15 more were confirmed killed in Cebu province and one more in Siquijor.
He also reported that a total of 216 people have been reported hurt.
The highest number of fatalities — 18 — were in the municipality of Loon, 42 kilometers west of Carmen, where an unknown number of patients were trapped inside the Congressman Castillo Memorial Hospital, which partially collapsed.
Civil defense spokesman Maj. Reynaldo Balido said the rescuers were working to reach those trapped in the hospital.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 444,714 people were affected by the strong temblor and nearly 10,000 were displaced and staying in 13 evacuation centers.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck two kilometers southeast of Carmen, Bohol at 8:12 a.m. It was felt strongest in Tagbilaran, Bohol at Intensity 7.
As of 5 p.m., Phivolcs has reported a total of 289 aftershocks.
Vilma Yorong, a Bohol provincial government employee, said she was in a village hall in Maribojoc town when "the lights suddenly went out and we felt the earthquake."
"We ran out of the building, and outside, we hugged trees because the tremors were so strong," he told The Associated Press by phone. "When the shaking stopped, I ran to the street and there I saw several injured people. Some were saying their church has collapsed."
She said that she and the others ran up a mountain fearing a tsunami would follow the quake. "Minutes after the earthquake, people were pushing each other to go up the hill," she said.
Ley Sarigumba of Booy District in Tagbilaran City said that there was "deafening silence" after the earthquake. She said people were staying outside their homes due to the aftershocks.
She also said that several houses as well as the city hall of Sagbayan town collapsed due to the earthquake.
The NDRRMC said several structures, including buildings, airports, centuries-old churches, houses, malls and other private establishments were damaged by the earthquake.
Phivolcs said the earthquake, which was equivalent to 32 atomic bombs, lasted for 30 seconds.
Bohol Gov. Edgar Chiato said the whole province could have suffered damages from the earthquake.
"Lahat ng teams natin naka-deploy to get more feed about the towns. Merong mga reported na simbahan na nasira in the northern part of Bohol, sa Upay, na ang aftershock was felt there and Kalibo, the other side of Bohol. It seems the whole province was hit. I'm not surprised nasama din yung ibang mga probinsya kalapit ng Bohol," Chiato said.
Power was out in the whole provinces of Bohol, the NDRRMC reported.
The provinces of Cebu also suffered extensive damage from the earthquake, which also caused two stampedes at the Barba Sports Complex in Toledo City and Pinamungahan Auditorium.
Landslides were also recorded in at least eight villages in Cebu
President Benigno Aquino III said he will visit areas devastated by the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu provinces.
Aquino, however, would not be able to stay longer in the affected areas because he will push through with his scheduled visit to South Korea from October 17 to 18. with The Associated Press