MANILA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Two earthquakes, just three hours apart, struck the Philippines' northernmost Batanes islands on Saturday morning, killing eight people and injuring 63 others.
Ricardo Jalad, the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said at least one person remains missing after the magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 earthquakes rocked the remote island of Itbayat, a town in Batanes, an archipelago in the north of the Philippines' biggest main Luzon island, at 4:16 a.m. and 7:37 a.m. local time.
The twin earthquakes, with epicenters located northeast of Itbayat, were also felt at varying intensities in the towns of Basco, Sabtang and Ivana in Batanes.
As of 5 p.m., local time, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said a total of 104 aftershocks had been recorded. Thirteen of the 104 aftershocks were plotted and six were felt, ranging from magnitude 2.8 to 5.9, and intensity of 1 to 7, or from "scarcely perceptible" to "destructive."
The quakes, which sent sleeping residents rushing into the streets, affected 911 families or 2,963 people in five villages in Itbayat, according to Jalad. "They are currently staying at the town's public market," he said.
"All injured were brought to the Itbayat district hospital," Jalad said in a report released Saturday night.
The quakes also damaged 15 houses, two schools and a historic church, Itbayat Mayor Raul de Sagon said. He appealed for food, bottled water and medicines for the victims.
Search and rescue, and medical teams were flown into Itbayat a few hours after the earthquakes struck, Jalad said.
Batanes is an archipelago and the smallest province north of the Philippine main Luzon island.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the second quake at 5.9., while the Phivolcs put it at 6.4.
The Philippines is an earthquake-prone country, registering quakes everyday though most are not felt. Phivolcs records an average of 20 earthquakes a day and 100 to 150 earthquakes are felt per year.
The Philippines lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire surrounded with numerous active faults and trenches on both sides of the archipelago.