43 Dead In Philippines Quake

The death toll from a powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the central Philippines just before noon on Monday has risen to 43 as landslides struck a mountainous area.

At least 29 were killed by landslides while 10 others were crushed by collapsing buildings in the mountainous town of of Guihulngan on Negros island, said regional military official colonel Francisco Patrimonio.

Four other people were killed in other parts of Negros which also suffered widespread power outages and damaged roads and bridges, hampering rescue efforts, the colonel told reporters.

“Looting is now rampant in Guihulngan which forced us to commit more troops with the Philippine national police,” he added.

The earthquake struck the central Philippines north of Negros Island, about 50 kilometres from the big population centre of Cebu which houses more than 2 million people.

Almost four hours after the quake struck, a 6.2-magnitude aftershock hit the central Philippines again, panicking rescuers once more.

The US geological survey measured the quake at a depth of 46 kilometres.

Witnesses reported violent shaking and government authorities say windows were smashed and buildings cracked.

High-rise buildings appear to have been largely unaffected, while some bridges have been cut. There have been over 40 aftershocks.