At least eight people have been killed after three earthquakes struck a province in the Philippines.

The earthquakes hit the province of Batanes, an archipelago in the north of the country, within a few hours on Saturday.

Footage showed people clearing boulder-size stone bricks to pull out one body from the rubble of a home.

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Mayor Raul de Sagon said around 60 people were hurt and many people were in their homes when the earthquakes struck.

The second and more powerful earthquake struck about three hours after the first shock.
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The second and more powerful earthquake struck about three hours after the first shock

He said injured people were still being taken to hospitals and more doctors may be needed.

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The Philippine seismology agency said the quakes measured 5.4 and 5.9 and a third quake with a magnitude 5.7 struck later on Saturday.

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Roldan Esdicul, head of the Batanes provincial disaster office said he was in his office when the second and more powerful quake struck about three hours after the first shock.

He said: “We have to hold on because you can’t stand or walk. It was that strong.”

The first earthquake severely cracked the bell tower of the island’s old limestone church, the 19th-century Santa Maria de Mayan which is a popular tourist attraction.

Objects strewn on the floor of a home in Batanes Province
Image:
Objects strewn on the floor of a home in Batanes Province

Mr Esdicul said the tower collapsed when the second quake hit the island.

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A hospital was damaged but remained open and an air force helicopter and a plane had been deployed to Batanes to help ferry and provide aid to victims.

The islands are famous for their stone-built houses, coral walls and cogon grass roofs and are often battered by typhoons.

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