A 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Monday off the third-largest island in the Philippines has killed at least 15 people, the government said. Another 29 people were missing after a landslide in the city of Guihulngan, it said.
The dead included two elementary school children, authorities said, according to the Philippines News Agency. The girls died when walls at their schools collapsed on them, National Police spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council put the official death toll at 15 in a report issued shortly after midnight Monday.
Many bridges were damaged and were either unusable or safe only for light vehicles, it said. Several aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 5.2 to 6.0, rattled the area into the evening hours Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued a level 2 tsunami alert for areas along the Tanon Strait between Negros and the neighboring island of Cebu. The alert — a notch below the highest tsunami alert of level 3, which required evacuation of the affected areas — was later lifted after an observation period, according to the Philippines News Agency.
The Philippines is situated in the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Image: World Disaster Report