Toll: a bell of the oldest church in the Philippines, the
Basilica of the Holy Child, lies in the rubble after a
7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the city of Cebu on Tuesday. It was
reported on Wednesday that 144 had been killed. Almost 300 people
had been reported injured, and 23 missing. Reuters reported on
Wednesday that 17 churches had suffered "irreparable damage".
Almost three million people have been affected by the disaster. The
present stone Basilica dates from 1735, after two wooden buildings
had been destroyed by fire. A writer named Vela, quoted on the
church's website, wrote that it had "all the characteristics of a
solid construction to withstand all the earthquakes"