Officials watch for landslides after strong Philippines earthquake

Officials closed schools in the Bicol region southeast of Manila on Tuesday as a series of aftershocks to a powerful earthquake and heavy rains increased the risk of landslides in the area. A 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Legazpi city in Albay province, site of the restive Mayon volcano, and southern Leyte province on Monday night, the US Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but brief power outages were reported in some areas. Officials ordered elementary and high school classes suspended in the region due to flooding caused by heavy rains and the risk that landslides may be triggered by the rains and earthquake. Some 126 villages in Albay province alone are considered highly vulnerable to landslides, said Jukes Nunez, a provincial disaster-response official. The quake hit at 10:11 p.m. Monday with an epicenter in the ocean 184 kilometers northeast of Catarman in Northern Samar province, at a depth of 56 kilometers, said Ishmael Narag, head of the seismology section of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.