Manila, Feb 8: Rescuers assisted by armed forces scrambled to find survivors in quake-hit central Philippines on Tuesday but a series of powerful aftershocks hampered them, as President Ninoy Aquino appealed for calm, a day after a 6.8 temblor shook the country killing at least 56 people.
Aquino will spend his birthday tomorrow in Dumaguete City, comforting the population of the severely affected areas and in support of the rescue and support officials.
Army officials put the death toll at 56 while another 92 people were reported missing as the nation's military scrambled 1,000 government troops to deal with the disaster, according to ABS-CBN news reports.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino continues to appeal for citizens to cooperate with the authorities, and to keep in mind that public safety must be kept the highest priority.
“This is an unusual situation which calls for the utmost responsibility, particularly in disseminating information,” he added.
As many as 1005 aftershocks were recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology till afternoon today as rescue workers struggled to find dozens of missing people in the densely-populated region that was shaken yesterday.
Aftershocks and resultant landslides made several mountainous roads impassable in the Negros, the third-largest island in the Philippines.
Philippines Armed Forces and Navy joined the police force in undertaking evacuation, search and rescue operations, an official statement said today.
Aquino appealed to the quake-affected Central Visayas population to remain calm and cooperate with the authorities as they strive to bring normalcy to the areas.
The quake had struck about 70 kilometers from the coastal city of Dumaguete.