A 6.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the central Philippines province of Negros Oriental on Monday, killed at least 44 people, buried dozens and has left many missing, officials told the media.
The Philippine Star reported that Col. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the Army's 302 Infantry Brigade, informed the med that 29 people in Planas village and 10 people in Guihulngan City have died as result of the landslide triggered by the strong quake. Guihulngan is a city of approximately 180,000 people in the Negros Oriental province. The quake shook just off Negros Island.
Two other fatalities were reported in Tayasan town, two in Bindoy and one in Jimalalud, according to the Philippine Star. Officials are still verifying the dead.
Mayor Ernesto Reyes told the media that some 30 houses were buried and that at least 29 people were missing.
Patrimonio also told the media Looting is now rampant in the Guihulngan City.
He has reportedly ordered soldiers to help police keep the peace and order in the city.
The AP and CBS reported that rescuers are using picks and shovels to dig for survivors.
The earthquake struck at 11:49 a.m. and trapped an unknown number of people La Libertad police chief inspector Eric Arrol Besario told The AP.
We're now getting shovels and chain saws to start a rescue because there were people trapped inside. Some of them were yelling for help earlier, Besario said.
Patrimonio also told the media that the earthquake damaged Matilo bridge in La Libertad town and Ayungon bridge and Dayoyo bridge in Jimalalud.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake centered 44 miles (72 kilometers) north of Dumaguete city on Negros. It struck at a depth of 29 miles (46 kilometers). The Philippines is in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.