Cebu Province, Philippines: The Philippine Province of Cebu, about 570 kilometers (350 miles) south of Manila was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake at 8:12 Tuesday morning (8:12 pm Monday, Eastern U.S. Time). It is reported by USGS that the quake struck five kilometers (three miles) east of Balilihan, in the Bohol Region, at a depth of approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles). According to the town’s official site, the population of Balilihan is around 18,500.
Initial reports being received here in Manila at 2:00 pm , indicate at least 30 fatalities. Rescuers are still trying to make an assessment and search for those who are missing. It is believed that casualties have been low due to the fact that this was a national holiday so many businesses, schools, and government offices were closed.
WMC-AP received the following report from Philippine-Micronesia Field Strategy Coordinator, Stephen Gualberto.
I just had a phone call with District Superintendent Nilo Rosende of Central Visayas District, which covers Cebu and Bohol (the areas impacted by the quake). He reported that they are conducting assessment now. There are affected churches and communities in Cebu.
The pastor of our church in Baclayon, Bohol is presently on the island of Cebu. As a result he doesn’t know what the situation currently is for our Nazarene families and churches in Bohol. He has been able to make text contact with some of the members in Bohol and they are reporting that many residents near the coastal area, including some Nazarenes, have evacuated to high places because of fear of a tsunami. They are also reporting several collapsed buildings in the city of Tagbilaran and totally destroyed historical places such as some century old cathedrals in Bohol [dating back more than 300 years to Spanish rule].
All flights to Bohol are cancelled because of the damaged runway. The Coast Guard has cancelled all boats traveling to Bohol today. They will re-assess the situation tomorrow to determine if they will allow the resumption of boat [traffic] to Bohol.
We will wait for further reports from Superintendent Nilo, who has already mobilized his young pastors who just attended Crisis Management Training only five days ago. They are conducting initial assessment in Cebu. Once boats resume to Bohol, our pastors will be sent to the island.
For now we need prayers for Cebu and Bohol, for our Nazarene congregations and others.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has not issued a Pacific-wide tsunami threat.
Please continue to check back to the Asia-Pacific site for more updates in the hours and days ahead.