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Deadly earthquakes rattle northern Philippine isles

By
Renee Duff, Accuweather.com
A house is severely damaged in Itbayata, Philippines, after earthquakes ranging from magnitude 5.4 to 5.9 struck the northern province Saturday. Photo by Obet Garcia Nico/EPA
A house is severely damaged in Itbayata, Philippines, after earthquakes ranging from magnitude 5.4 to 5.9 struck the northern province Saturday. Photo by Obet Garcia Nico/EPA

At least eight people are dead and 60 more hurt after three strong earthquakes rocked islands in the northern Philippines on Saturday morning, local time.

The United States Geological Survey reported a magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck 2 miles east-northeast of Itbayat, which is part of the Batanes Islands in the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and Taiwan.

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Two earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.7 and 5.9 then followed in the span of five hours.

The bell tower on the 19th-century Santa Maria de Mayan Church, a popular tourist attraction, was severely cracked and then toppled over after the successive earthquakes.

Patients were evacuated from a damaged hospital, but later moved to a crammed basketball court due to heavy rain, according to the AP.

Seven of those injured sustained severe fractures and were airlifted out of Itbayat to receive further treatment.

Many homes made of stone and wood have collapsed.

"Our bed and everything were swaying from side to side like a hammock," Roldan Esdicul, head of the Batanes provincial disaster-response office, told the AP. "We all ran out to safety."

There was no threat of a tsunami following the earthquakes.

Showers and thunderstorms erupting daily into early week can threaten ongoing cleanup and recovery operations. High temperatures will be near 90 degrees Fahrenheit each afternoon.

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