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‘I Thought the Ground Would Open Up’: Scenes of Devastation Follow Deadly Philippines Earthquake

A powerful magnitude-7.0 earthquake triggered landslides and damaged buildings in a day of devastation that left five people dead in the northern Philippines.

The midmorning earthquake was centered in the mountain region of Abra province.

“The ground shook like I was on a swing and the lights suddenly went out. We rushed out of the office, and I heard screams and some of my companions were in tears,” Michael Brillantes, a safety officer of the Abra town of Lagangilang, told the Associated Press. “It was the most powerful quake I’ve felt and I thought the ground would open up.”

Rescue teams conduct search and rescue operations after an earthquake of magnitude 7 rocked the Abra region Philippines on Wednesday, triggering landslides and damage to infrastructure, in La Trinidad, Benguet province on July 27, 2022. (Photo by Bureau of Fire Protection/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

At least five people died, mostly in buildings that collapsed in the shaking. One person was struck and killed by falling concrete slabs at a house in Abra, the AP reported. A worker was pinned under a building under construction in the mountain town of La Trinidad.

Dozens of people were injured.

A view of a collapsed building after an earthquake of magnitude 7 rocked the Abra region Philippines on Wednesday, triggering landslides and damage to infrastructure, in La Trinidad, Benguet province on July 27, 2022. (Photo by Bureau of Fire Protection/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Photos captured scenes of destruction. The Red Cross issued a picture of a three-story building leaning toward a road in Abra. Video from a witness showed an old stone church tower falling into a cloud of dust.

More damage is possible from aftershocks.

Rescue teams conduct search and rescue operations after an earthquake of magnitude 7 rocked the Abra region Philippines on Wednesday, triggering landslides and damage to infrastructure, in La Trinidad, Benguet province on July 27, 2022. (Photo by Bureau of Fire Protection/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The quake’s strength was initially reported as magnitude-7.3 magnitude. It was later downgraded to 7.0. That quakes depth was shallow at 10 km, according to the USGS.

The Philippines is in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” faults located around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.

A magnitude 7.7 quake killed nearly 2,000 people in the northern Philippines in 1990.

A USGS map shows where shaking was reported in a Philippines earthquake Wednesday July 27, 2022.

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