British Ambassador designate to the Philippines Asif Ahmad expressed sympathies to the Philippine government after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hits central Philippines, particularly the tourist-heavy province of Bohol.
The ambassador, in a statement, said there were no British nationals reportedly affected by the earthquake that already claimed the lives of 20 people—15 in Cebu, four in Bohol and one in nearby province of Siquijor.
“Reports of the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu reached me as it happened this morning. I am saddened to hear of the loss of lives in the region and it will be some time before the full extent of the damage becomes known,” Ahmad said.
“Whilst there have been no reports of injury to Britons, this is a region that has proven to be hospitable to many British nationals over the years,” he added.
The magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits central Philippines on Tuesday morning, killing at least 20 people and damaging some of the oldest buildings and facades in the tourist-heavy city of Cebu and Bohol.
The earthquake struck the island of Bohol at about 8:12 a.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
Officials said that although the quake was centered in Bohol, Cebu experienced more deaths because it has a bigger population.
Out of the 15 deaths in Cebu, four came from the collapse of the roof of the fish market. The quake heavily damaged some of the oldest churches in the city, including the iconic Santo Nino de Cebu church, which was founded in 1565.
Aside from churches, a mall and a hospital were also damaged during the quake.
Officials have warned the residents of the two cities to stay out of buildings because of the possible aftershocks, as well as landslides that may occur at any moment.
Ahmad expressed hopes that the country, particularly the two provinces, will be able to stand up from the disaster.
“Everyone familiar will the affected parts of the country will join me in the hope that the community recovers from what has been a difficult day,” he said. BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON