More than 100 dead after earthquake hits the Philippines

Story highlights

NEW: Death toll rises to 144; almost 300 people injured

More than 20 people are missing

The quake was centered near a town in Bohol province

It hit on a national holiday in the Philippines

CNN —  

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

There was no widespread threat of a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. It warned that earthquakes this large can sometimes cause tsunamis within 100 kilometers of the epicenter.

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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CNN’s Joseph Netto and Tim Schwarz contributed to this report.