Six dead in Philippines earthquake

Girlie Linao

At least six people have been killed and 50 injured when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake jolted the Philippines, causing structures to collapse and knocking out power.

A young girl and her grandmother were crushed to death when a wall fell in their house in Lubao town in Pampanga, a badly-hit province north of Manila, said provincial Governor Lilia Pineda.

Another two people were killed when a four-storey building with a supermarket on the ground floor collapsed in nearby Porac town in the same province, according to Angie Blanco of the provincial disaster risk reduction office.

Two other victims were killed after being hit by toppled structures in their homes in Porac, Blanco said.

An undetermined number of people were believed trapped in the four-storey building, Pineda told Manila news television channel ANC.

"Rescuers have been dispatched and people say they hear screaming from the rubble," she said.

Blanco said 20 people were hurt from accidents in their homes around Pampanga, while 30 people were pulled out and rushed to hospital for various injuries from the collapsed building in Porac.

The quake's epicentre was in Castillejos town in Zambales province, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Cracks and rockfalls were reported along an expressway in the region, while a church and some houses made from light material collapsed.

The international airport in nearby Clark City was damaged, with part of its ceiling crashing to the floor.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) placed the preliminary magnitude of the quake at 6.3.

It was felt strongest at intensity 5 in the nearby provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan, as well as some parts of Manila, where thousands of people rushed out of government offices and commercial buildings.

The overhead train system in Manila suspended operations to ensure that the stations were safe following the earthquake.

The Philippines is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where about 90 per cent of the world's earthquakes strike.

The last major quake to hit the country was a 7.1-magnitude tremor that killed more than 220 people in the central Philippines in October 2013.