Southern Philippines was hit by a 7.2 earthquake Tuesday morning leaving at least 160 people dead and around 300 injured with dozens still missing.
Two of the popular tourist destinations in the country, the provinces of Bohol and Cebu were greatly affected and have been placed in the state of calamity.
Many buildings were damaged including old historical churches which have been in existence for more than hundred years. Houses were toppled, bridges fell and roads cracked in the devastated areas. There were stampedes as people rushed for safety. There was no threat of a tsunami because the epicenter of the quake was inland.
The relief operations continue as people who lost their homes were moved to evacuation centers.
Due to landslides, around 3,000 houses were destroyed in the provinces of Bohol and Cebu. An estimated 16,000 homes were damaged. The total number of displaced people was reported to be from 100,000 to 160,000 and they are now in 85 evacuation centers.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino rushed to Bohol to provide support and assurance to the victims of the calamity.
In 1976, the southern part of the Philippines was hit by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake, which also triggered a tsunami. This was the deadliest natural disaster in the country’s history with death toll estimated to be around 8,000 people.
The Philippines is one of the countries that lie in the the Pacific Ring of Fire where majority of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen.
Interesting facts about the provinces of Bohol and Cebu
1. Bohol is a popular tourist destination because of the historical churches and natural wonders.
– One of the oldest churches, Baclayon Church, was built in 1595 and was restored in 1724. This was severely damaged by the earthquake.
– Chocolate Hills, made of limestone, are one of the natural attractions because they turn brown during summer
– The tarsiers, world’s smallest primates, are found in Loboc which is a municipality in Bohol.
2. Cebu is considered as one of the most progressive provinces in the country.
– The capital city, Cebu City, is the center of education and trade in the entire Visayas region.
– Cebu has been named as one of the best Asian-Pacific island destinations in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009.