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At least one dead as 6.5-magnitude earthquake hits central Philippines

MANILA: A 6.5-magnitude earthquake killed at least one person in the central Philippines yesterday, with at least five more people trapped inside a collapsed commercial building, officials said.

Rescuers pulled out six people from the three-storey structure in the town of Kananga, near the quake's epicentre on Leyte island, Kananga vice-mayor Elmer Codilla told AFP.

"There are still more people inside, maybe more than five. The rescue operation is ongoing," he added.

Two of those trapped managed to send text messages seeking help, the vice-mayor said.

Officials retrieved one body while six people were rescued without injuries, Mr Codilla said.

Mr Dominico Petilla, the governor of Leyte province, said rescue personnel, ambulances and heavy equipment have been sent to the mountainous town of about 50,000 people.

"They're still trying to pull out the injured," Mr Petilla told CNN Philippines.

The 10-year-old building housed a small hotel upstairs and shops on the ground floor, officials said.

The quake hit at a depth of around six kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

NO TSUNAMI

There was no immediate warning of a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Large parts of Leyte were devastated by super typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

Huge tsunami-like waves smashed the city of Tacloban and nearby areas, leaving 7,350 people dead or missing.

Tacloban and Ormoc, the island's other main city, escaped damage this time, residents contacted by telephone said. - AFP

PhilippinesearthquakeNatural Disaster