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Strong earthquake in C. Philippines kills at least 43

(Xinhua)

08:49, February 07, 2012

MANILA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- At least 43 people, including two children, were killed in a magnitude 6.9 earthquake which jolted central Philippine's Negros Oriental shortly before noon Monday.

Among the victims, 29 died in an earthquke-triggered landslide in Planas village. Ten others died in other parts of Guihulngan City. Two others were killed in Tayasan town, while Bindoy and Jimamalud recorded one death each, said Francisco Zosimo Patrimonio, commander of the Army's 302nd Brigade.

Roel Degamo, governor of Negros Oriental in central Philippines, said the earthquake has damaged eight bridges, three of which are no longer passable.

Degamo said soldiers and police are now conducting rescue and relief operations. The governor also suspended all classes and work in government offices for the rest of the day.

The presidential palace has advised residents of Negros Oriental to "remain calm and watchful" and to cooperate with their local officials.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the authorities have not ordered any forced evacuation but requested the residents in Negros to "remain vigilant and take necessary safety precautions."

Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II has ordered Coast Guard Chief Edmund Tan to prevent fishermen from going out to sea for the duration of the alert.

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