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VIGAN, Philippines, July 28 (Reuters) – Fearful residents of the Philippine province of Abra spent the night sleeping outside after a powerful earthquake hit the northern island of Luzon, killing four and injuring more than 130.
Some locals said on Thursday they had been too scared to return home, instead camping with their families on sidewalks and in parks to keep them safe.
The 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook the island of Luzon in the northern Philippines on Wednesday morning, damaging homes and buildings, including heritage structures and centuries-old churches. Seismologists have since recorded nearly 800 aftershocks.
Erlinda Bisares, a resident of the town of Bangued in Abra, located just 11 km (6.8 miles) from the epicentre, said she and her family did not want to risk returning home.
“We were so scared,” Bisares told CNN Philippines, recalling how the earthquake shook his house and furniture. “We didn’t mind our stuff, we just rushed out. Life is more important.”
Mark Timbal, spokesman for the national disaster management agency, told reporters that the death toll from the quake had been revised down to four from five, but the number of injured had risen to more of 130.
The Philippines is prone to natural disasters and is located on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a band of volcanoes and fault lines that circle the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Earthquakes are frequent and there are an average of 20 typhoons each year, with some triggering deadly landslides.
Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan said clean-up operations by DZBB radio were underway and his agency had started clearing debris from main roads in Abra and other landslide-affected districts. caused by the earthquake.
Ricardo Jalad, administrator of the Civil Defense Bureau, told DZRH radio station that parts of Abra were still without electricity and water and were experiencing communication blackouts.
The Budget Ministry said authorities were ready to release funds for disaster relief.
Reporting by Karen Lema in Manila and Adrian Portugal in Vigan Editing by Ed Davies
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