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22 August 2017
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Aftershocks rattle Philippines; quake death toll climbs to 12

6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Monday...

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Monday off the third-largest island in the Philippines, killing at least 12 people, an official said, according to CNN.

The quake struck about 11:49 a.m. (10:49 p.m. Sunday ET) about 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the coastal city of Dumaguete on the Philippine island of Negros, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The dead included two elementary school children, authorities said, according to the Philippines News Agency. The girls died when walls at their schools collapsed on them, National Police spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said.

The Office of Civil Defense put the official death toll at 12, said Maj. Reynaldo Balido, although there were unconfirmed reports of more deaths.

The earthquake also caused cracked walls and shattered windows in a department store on Negros, said Balido, the military assistant for operations at the civil defense office.

Several aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 5.2 to 6.0, rattled the area into the evening hours Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued a level 2 tsunami alert for areas along the Tanon Strait between Negros and the neighboring island of Cebu. The alert -- a notch below the highest tsunami alert of level 3, which required evacuation of the affected areas -- was later lifted after an observation period, according to the Philippines News Agency.

No tsunami warning was issued for the wider Pacific region, and there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The earthquake occurred in the ocean at a depth of 46.6 kilometers (29 miles), according to the USGS.

The Philippines is situated in the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

At the Circle Inn Hotel in the city of Bacolod, which is on Negros but not on the coast nearest the quake`s epicenter, a receptionist said the quake lasted between three and five minutes.

"We felt the shaking," the receptionist said. "The guests all exited the building. But all the people here are okay."

There was no damage to the hotel, the receptionist said.

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