Philippine quake relief under way as toll rises

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Media caption,
Quake brings down bell tower on oldest Philippine church

More than 140 people are now reported to have died in the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the central Philippines on Tuesday.

Relief efforts are continuing on the island of Bohol, which bore the brunt of the quake, and in neighbouring Cebu.

President Benigno Aquino arrived in the region on Wednesday to visit affected communities, many of which saw buildings destroyed.

Residents are also experiencing aftershocks in the wake of the quake.

Augustus Escobia, a local official from Bohol, told Agence-France Presse news agency that at least 132 of the casualties were from the island.

People were also killed in the province of Cebu, and historic churches, as well as roads, markets and buildings, were reported damaged on both islands.

At least three people were pulled from the rubble in Cebu on Wednesday, reports say.

Bohol Governor Ed Chatto told the BBC: "[The quake] affected all the towns in the whole island province because the epicentre was in the middle of the island."

"People are afraid of going back to their homes for fear of aftershocks. We hope this will stabilise soon so they can return to their respective homes."

The air force was carrying 11 tonnes (24,000 lbs) of relief supplies to affected residents in Bohol province, Reuters news agency reported, citing a military spokesman.

Minda Morante, civil defence chief for the central islands, told AFP news agency that she expected the death toll to rise.

"We expect the number to increase considering there are still areas that need search and rescue [personnel] and there are areas where they need more aid," she said.

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