Struggling to reach Philippines earthquake survivors

Residents of Bohol in the central Philippines are still reeling after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the tourist island, Bohol, on 15 October. At least 171 people are confirmed dead and close to 400 were injured when the quake struck shortly after 8am local time, affecting more than 3.4 million people, some of whom aid workers are still struggling to reach.

Of the 162,566 people displaced, nearly 100,000 are in 85 evacuation centres, mostly in Bohol, while another 65,000 are staying with family and friends, often near their homes, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) on 18 October.

Almost 20,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in Bohol and Cebu provinces, as were a large number of government buildings, schools, and hospitals, leaving residents camped out in the open. Some 35 bridges were affected and a number of roads became impassable, hampering relief efforts and stranding residents.

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The Philippines, with some 100 million residents, is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, exposed to periodic earthquakes due to its location between the Philippine, Sunda and Eurasia tectonic plates.

According to a 1994 earthquake impact reduction study, a similar earthquake in metro Manila area could have resulted in more than 50,000 deaths and destroyed or damaged more than 500,000 homes.