A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the Philippines shortly before 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, damaging buildings and tourist sites in the country’s northern regions.
The quake was centered in the province of Abra and had a depth of 17 kilometers (10.5 miles), according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the nation’s earthquake, volcano and tsunami monitor.
Residents of Manila, the Philippine capital located more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) away from the epicenter, also felt the impact of the earthquake.
“It was the most powerful quake I’ve felt, and I thought the ground would open up,” Michael Brillantes, a safety officer in the Abra town of Lagangilang, told the Associated Press by cellphone.
Buildings in the town of Bangued were damaged and toppled following the earthquake, photos shared by Abra Representative Menchie Beronilla Bernos showed.
Cracks also appeared on roads, according to footage provided by the newspaper Philippine Star.
Meanwhile, the quake left rubble scattered across the streets of Vigan, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site located in the neighboring province of Ilocos Sur, photos showed.
A historic belfry in the city, known as the Bantay Tower, was also seen in videos suffering damage as a result of Wednesday morning’s earthquake.
At least two people have died in the aftermath of the quake, according to AP.
One was a villager in Abra, who died after cement slabs in his home fell on him, while the other fatality was a construction worker in the province of Benguet who was hit by debris.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered rescue and relief teams to be dispatched to Abra. The head of state will visit the areas affected by the earthquake once he is “given the all-clear,” his press secretary was quoted by CNN Philippines as saying in a press conference.
Bernos, for her part, has urged people to “stay alert and prioritize safety in light of the possibilities of aftershocks that might be felt.”
“We are monitoring the situation on the ground and gathering information on the extent of the damage to the province,” the congresswoman said in a statement on the Philippine Information Agency website.
“My office is also actively coordinating with proper authorities on what can be done to assist families and communities that were severely affected by this earthquake,” she added.
There no was tsunami threat to the Philippines following the earthquake, according to Phivolcs.