Eight killed in quake, aftershocks in Philippines, 60 injured: agency

MANILA (Reuters) – An earthquake and aftershocks struck islands off the north of the Philippines on Saturday killing eight people and injuring 60, disaster officials said.

An initial quake of magnitude 5.4 that struck the Batanes islands was followed shortly by an aftershock of magnitude 5.9, according to Philippine government data. Another big aftershock struck a little later.

The first quake killed five people while three people were killed in aftershocks, Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the disaster agency, told Reuters.

“It’s traumatic … we’re still feel strong aftershocks,” Edna Gato, a school teacher in Itbayat town, told Reuters.

The national disaster agency said it was sending medical and rescue teams to the islands, about half way between the main Philippine island of Luzon and Taiwan.

The military was also deploying an aircraft to send supplies and bring out injured, he said.

Gato said she was standing outside in an open space with more than 1,000 people.

“New houses were damaged and the old houses which we were preserving were completely destroyed,” she said, referring to traditional stone homes.

The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Robert Birsel

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