A Tuesday earthquake with a magnitude at 7.2 rocked through central Philippines, killing dozens and sending survivors into a panic-driven flight, as building and churches toppled around them.
The quake hit just after 8 a.m. local time, about 20 miles from the town of Carmen on Bohol Island, The Associated Press reported. Buildings and historical churches tumbled to the ground, bridges collapsed and roads split down the middle, making it a tough evacuation for the hundreds who lived in the region. Meanwhile, an outright stampede broke out at a local gymnasium where government officials were distributing cash assistance.
Five were killed in the stampede and another eight or so injured, AP reported. Another 18 were killed when a building collapsed and they couldn't escape.
Emergency responders say at least 85 have been confirmed dead so far — but that count is expected to rise. Scores more were injured and hundreds fled to a nearby mountain for safety.
"We ran out of the building, and outside, we hugged trees because the tremors were so strong," said one government employee, in the AP reported. "When the shaking stopped, I ran to the street and there I saw several injured people. Some were saying their church has collapsed."
The quake didn't bring with it a tsunami because it occurred inland, rather than right on the coast, officials said.
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.