Quake in Philippines injures 25, damages homes, churches

Officials say a moderately strong earthquake struck in the southern Philippines as people slept before dawn, injuring at least 25 villagers and damaging several houses, two churches, a public market and a fire station

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the magnitude 5.5 quake struck about 7 kilometers (4 miles) southeast of Carrascal town in Surigao del Sur province and was felt in outlying provinces. Aftershocks have been detected.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a Catholic church's ceiling crumbled in Surigao del Sur's Carmen town and another church in Lanuza town sustained "major damage," while several houses reported cracks and damage.

A public market was damaged in Carmen and a small fire station collapsed in Madrid town, damaging a firetruck and a police car. A small Surigao hospital also was damaged, officials said.

Disaster-response teams have been deployed to help affected residents and assess possible damage in interior towns.