Manila – A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Philippine island of Luzon on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, badly damaging a hospital and buildings in a northern province and sending strong tremors through the capital.
There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths from the quake, which struck about 11 kilometres (six miles) southeast of the town of Dolores and at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres (six miles).
A hospital in Abra province was evacuated after the building partially collapsed following the quake, but there were no casualties reported, said officials.
Abra governor Joy Bernos posted photos of the damaged Abra provincial hospital on her Facebook account which showed a gaping hole in the front entrance facade.
Other photos showed hospital beds, including one with a patient, wheeled across the road and evacuated hospital staff.
Landslides were reported in some parts of Abra, particularly in the town of Manabo.
Abra, home to nearly 250, 000 people, is a landlocked province in the northern Philippines. Its deep valleys and sloping hills are enclosed by rugged mountains.
The quake was also felt in Manila, where several buildings were evacuated, with some people forced to flee from the 30th floor of a building, and the city’s metro rail systems were halted at rush hour.
The Philippines is prone to natural disasters, and it is located on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a band of volcanoes and fault lines that arcs round the edge of the Pacific Ocean.