Philippines calls off search for quake survivors


Philippine rescuers on Saturday called off the search for survivors after a powerful earthquake on the tourist island of Bohol that killed at least 180 people.

“The rescue operations have ended and instead we are now conducting recovery operations,” said disaster chief Eduardo del Rosario.

“We are still looking for 13 others. Our responders are now on site to recover their bodies,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director told a news conference.

The island of about one million people, one of the country’s main tourist destinations, suffered landslides, fallen bridges, shattered roads and collapsed buildings in Tuesday’s 7.1-magnitude quake.

About 600 kilometers from capital Manila, Bohol is known for its beaches, its rolling “Chocolate Hills”, tiny tarsier primates, and centuries-old Catholic churches, many of which collapsed or sustained heavy damage.

Del Rosario said 167 people were killed on the island. There were 12 fatalities on Cebu island and one on Siquijor. A total of 13 people are still missing.

No fatalities were reported among foreign tourists.

Gov. Edgar Chatto of Bohol province told the news conference broadcast by Philippine radio stations that power had been restored on the island while major roads blocked by landslides had re-opened, speeding up the delivery of relief.

The disaster council said the quake displaced nearly 400,000 people. Many are still in makeshift tents, terrorized by aftershocks and unwilling to return home.

The quake damaged more than 34,000 houses across the region, with about 109,000 people sheltering at government-run camps on Bohol. AFP




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