MANILA - Over 400 aftershocks rocked northern Philippines on Wednesday, one day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake jolted provinces in the area and injured at least 36 people.
The quake, which struck at 10.59pm on Tuesday, damaged churches dating back to the Spanish colonial times and shut down an international airport in Laoag City, capital of Ilocos Norte, home province of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The quake, whose epicentre was at Tineg town in Abra province, had a shallow depth of 11km, but its effects were felt as far away as Metro Manila, some 330km to the south.
A total of 436 aftershocks had been recorded as at Wednesday afternoon, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
The quake caused power outages in parts of Cagayan province, and triggered landslides and rockslides that blocked highways in Abra and Ilocos Norte.
Photos posted online late on Tuesday night showed children sleeping on mats spread out along the streets in Lagayan town, as their parents were fearful of aftershocks.
The quake damaged the facade of the 18th-century Nuestra Senora De La Paz Church, locally known as the Aglipayan Church. It is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Some 113km away in Sarrat town, Ilocos Norte, falling debris had toppled a statue of Jesus Christ at the Santa Monica Parish Church built in 1724.
Meanwhile, patients had to be evacuated and outpatient consultations suspended after the ceiling collapsed at Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Centre, Ilocos Norte’s biggest hospital named after Mr Marcos’ grandfather.
The Laoag International Airport was shut due to cracks on the runway, and will reopen only on Thursday night.
Mr Marcos advised the public to avoid tall structures for now, as government agencies carry out relief and clearing operations.
“Stay alert and be safe, my countrymen. We are coming to help you,” he tweeted.
In July, a magnitude-7 earthquake rocked the northern Philippines, killing at least seven people, triggering landslides and damaging centuries-old structures.