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Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 10:55 GMT
Philippines rocked by quake

Fireman inspects damage in manila Many people were injured by falling objects


At least two people were killed and more than 20 injured when a powerful earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck the main Philippine island of Luzon.

An 11-year-old girl was crushed to death in her sleep when a concrete wall in her house collapsed and a 60-year-old died from a heart attack.



The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 0203 (1803 GMT), was about 180 km (112 miles) north of Manila, near the coastal town of Lingayen.

It rocked several provinces and cities, causing widespread panic and knocking out power supplies in the capital Manila.

Aftershocks

Sunday's quake was followed by several aftershocks and the Philippine Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology warned of more in the coming weeks.

The biggest aftershock measuring 5.5 was recorded at 1000 (0200 GMT).

Most of the damage was in the northern provinces of Pangasinan and Zambales, near the quake's epicentre.


Patients had to be evacuated from hospitals in Manila Patients had to be evacuated from hospitals in Manila
At least 24 people, mostly children, were injured by falling objects. One man was struck by a crane which toppled from a building.

In Manila, electrical poles were knocked over and buildings swayed dramatically, cracking walls.

Patients were removed from at least two hospitals and train services in the city were brought to a halt.

Officials said the earthquake was caused by movement of the Manila Trench, which runs along the western side of the Philippines in the South China Sea.

The last major quake to hit the country was in 1990 when nearly 2,000 people were killed by a 7.7 magnitude tremor.

Jellyfish

Sunday's quake caused the second major blackout in Luzon in 30 hours.

The earlier disruption was blamed on hundreds of jellyfish getting sucked into the cooling system of an important power plant.

Workers removed about 50 truckloads of the giant fish after they were accidentally drawn into the plant in its seawater intake.

Worried Filipinos called radio stations and news offices to ask if there had been a coup d'etat or if rebel groups had sabotaged the country's power system.

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