A pair of strong earthquakes have left at least 16 dead in the Philippines this week as search and rescue efforts continue.
A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Monday and was followed by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on the central Philippine island of Samar on Tuesday.
Monday’s earthquake was centered about 60 km (37 miles) northwest of the capital city of Manila, which is home to more than 12 million people. Its magnitude was initially rated as strong as 6.4.
At least 16 fatalities have been confirmed so far, with most of these in Pampanga province, according to Pampanga governor Lilia Pineda. Dozens of other people were injured due to collapsed buildings and walls in the province.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing for at least 24 missing individuals, according to the Philippine Red Cross.
The earthquake damaged a church in northern Pampanga province and also caused boulders to roll down a mountain, blocking a highway in the region, according to the Associated Press.
Metro Rail Transit suspended operations for the remainder of Monday following the quake to allow workers to check the integrity of the track throughout the network.
Several flights into and out of the northern Philippines were delayed or canceled following the earthquake.
All classes in Manila were canceled on Tuesday so that safety inspections could occur,