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article imagePhl quake death toll rises to 186, strong aftershocks continue

By Leo Reyes     Oct 21, 2013 in Environment
The death toll in the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu provinces in the Philippines last Tuesday had risen to 186 while close to 200 injuries have been reported as rescue operations continue in remote areas in search for more victims.
The fatalities, injuries and extent of devastation from the killer quake were reported by government television station PTV-4 in its Newslife evening report. The report added that strong aftershocks continue to rattle the areas near the epicenter of the earthquake, the latest being 5.4 magnitude aftershock that occurred 7:03 a.m. Monday.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) , close to 2,000 aftershocks have been recorded in Bohol and nearby areas. The agency says aftershocks will continue in the weeks ahead.
Renato Solidum, head of Phivolcs said the number of aftershocks could reach 3,000 although some of them could not be felt.
“Only a small percentage of the aftershocks are felt,” Solidum said.
Solidum also said that 1,905 aftershocks have been recorded as of Sunday but only 32 have been felt.
“There would be many aftershocks during the first week, but most of them would be recorded during the first two to three days. The number of aftershocks would decline as the days go by,” Solidum said.
Residents in the areas that were badly hit have left their damaged homes as they camped out in open spaces to avoid falling debris from badly damaged structures.
Philippine News Service (PNS) reported that "51,614 families or 236,509 persons stay in open spaces or in their friends’ and relatives’ houses because of fear for continued aftershock tremors."
Many hospitals, government buildings, bridges and old structures have been heavily damaged and declared unfit for occupancy.
Several churches which were constructed during the Spanish occupation dating back 200-400 years ago, have either been partially or totally damaged by the 7.2 magnitude killer quake.
Government rescue and relief workers have been working day and night to take care of the needs of the victims as they continue to camp out in open spaces for fear that more aftershocks would cause more injuries to their family members if they return to their partially-damaged homes.
President Benigno Aquino has vowed to help the earthquake victims in rebuilding their homes and providing for their immediate needs.
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