Photo Credit: USGS

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines on Monday morning at around 9:11 am local time, killing at least eight people and sending thousands fleeing into the streets as buildings collapsed around them.

More than 20 people were injured and first responders were said to be searching for at least 19 others who were missing, according to the Philippine Red Cross.

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The quake struck approximately 37 miles (60 km) northwest of the capital, Manila, at a depth of 12.5 miles (20 km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), with the epicenter in Zambales province.

Manila is home to more than 12 million people.

Rail lines and Clark International Airport all were closed; the airport shut down due to a collapsed ceiling in the terminal and rail lines closing to assess the damage. More than 100 flights were canceled. Power disruptions were reported in the provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Pampanga and Bataan.

The earthquake affected the main northern island of Luzon, where some people are still trapped under debris. Cell phone signals are erratic in some areas of Pampanga province, a rice-growing region.

The Philippines is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a seismically active circle of volcanos and fault lines in the Pacific Basic, making it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.

Manila has experienced 16 earthquakes in the past year.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.