Death toll climbs to 161 in Philippines earthquake

Story highlights

  • The death toll from the earthquake in the Philippines rises to 161; 375 are injured
  • The quake was centered near a town in Bohol province
  • It hit on a national holiday in the Philippines

The death toll from the magnitude-7.1 earthquake in the central Philippines rose Thursday to 161, authorities said.

The quake, which struck Tuesday, also injured 375 people, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, in Quezon City.

The bulk of the casualties were in Bohol province.

In an update issued Thursday evening, the council said 21 people were missing -- all of them in Bohol.

The quake was centered about 620 kilometers (385 miles) south-southeast of Manila, near Catigbian, and its depth was 20 kilometers (12 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Philippines disaster council gave the quake a slightly higher rating: 7.2 magnitude.

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Landslides were reported in some areas. Nearly 3,000 houses were destroyed and another 16,000 were damaged in Bohol and Cebu, officials reported.

As of 6 p.m. Thursday, 12 of Bohol's 47 municipalities were without power, and authorities were predicting that it would be restored within a day or two.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, more than 1,300 aftershocks had been recorded, 28 of which were felt. In all, 158,466 people were displaced, the government said. Nearly 100,000 of them were housed in 85 evacuation centers, it said.

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Tuesday was a national holiday, the beginning of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Tourist Robert Michael Poole said he was riding a bike in Bohol, where 149 of the deaths occurred, when the earthquake struck and cracked the road in front of him.

"I live in Tokyo; I am used to earthquakes," Poole said. "But this one was very strong. It shocked a lot of people here."

He said he was able to move around and document some of the destruction, including a giant church that was destroyed.

"Lucky thing is that it is a holiday here today and it happened at a time when nobody was in the church," Poole said.

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