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UPDATE: DEATH TOLL IN BOHOL EARTHQUAKE HITS 20

Provinces and regions of the Philippines

Provinces and regions of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At least 20 people were killed on Tuesday when a major 7.1 magnitude earthquake tore down buildings across three islands that are among the Philippines’ most popular tourist attractions, authorities said.

Fifteen of the fatalities were in Cebu, the second most important city in the Philippines and a gateway to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, civil defence office spokesman Reynaldo Balido told reporters.

Five other fatalities were reported on neighbouring Bohol and Siquijor islands, famed for their idyllic white sands and turquoise waters that are typically visited by fast boat from Cebu.

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