The Philippines were hit by a powerful earthquake on Wednesday, leaving at least five dead and over 130 injured.
The magnitude 7 quake hit northern Luzon, the country's most populated island, at 8:43 a.m. local time. It was centered in the province of Abra, in the northern Philippines. The tremors were felt throughout the country, including in the capital, Manila, 400km (249 miles) away from the center.
Michael Brillantes, a safety officer of the Abra town of Lagangilang, told the press:
"The ground shook like I was on a swing, and the lights suddenly went out."
"We rushed out of the office, and I heard screams, and some of my companions were in tears."
"It was the most powerful quake I've felt, and I thought the ground would open up."
The number of people who died is now five, though it could rise.
A 25-year-old construction worker in La Trinidad, in the province of Benguet, died when the three-story building collapsed, police said. Seven other workers escaped uninjured.
One person died in their village as falling cement slabs hit them in their house in Abra.
Vehicles, buildings, homes, and even roads were heavily damaged, leaving many trapped in ruins. The rescue teams started working almost instantly after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the northern Philippines.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, whose home is in the area hit by the earthquake, planned to visit the site but postponed the trip as he did not want to disrupt rescue teams.
The 30-second earthquake was followed by numerous aftershocks. It caused an evacuation of the hospitals in Manilla, but, luckily, there were no victims.
Mayor Rovelyn Villamor in the town of Lagangilang said:
"We don't have a power supply because that's automatically cut off due to danger."
The country lies in the "Ring of Fire," a place where strong earthquakes happen often. However, many said this was one of the hardest to hit the Philipines in years.
The country is no stranger to natural disasters, with 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year.
Congressman Ching Bernos, who represents the lone district of Abra, stated that the disaster "caused damages to many households and establishments."
According to the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center, the damage so far is around $687 million.
A student, Mira Zapata, was in her house in San Juan municipality. She said:
"We started shouting and rushed outside. Our house is ok, but houses down the hill were damaged."
A Facebook video showed the Bantay Bell Tower, the popular tourist destination, partially crumbling.
Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, said:
"We can't rule out the possibility of another strong earthquake."
Social media is flooded with horrifying images from supermarkets, and homes, with the earthquake ruining and influencing millions, not only in the affected area.
Red cross, rescue teams, and volunteers continue working to save as many lives as possible.
This is a developing story.