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AFTERSHOCKS RATTLE PHILIPPINES RESCUERS

SHARE AFTERSHOCKS RATTLE PHILIPPINES RESCUERS

Strong aftershocks to a massive earthquake that killed at least 315 people rocked the northern Philippines Wednesday, sending rescue workers scrambling from crushed buildings where hundreds of people remained trapped, officials said.

An aftershock measuring 6.3 on the open-ended Richter scale struck at 6:15 a.m. followed by another at 6:29 a.m. that registered at 5.9, officials said.More than 200 aftershocks have rocked the area since Monday's 7.7 temblor rumbled across the main Philippine island of Luzon, officials said. The quake, centered in Cabanatuan, 60 miles north of Manila, was the deadliest to strike the Philippines since August 1976, when an earthquake and tidal wave killed more than 3,000 people on the southern island of Mindanao.

The Military Civil Defense said the quake killed 315 people and injured at least 682.

Officials said the dead included two Americans, one an official of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The U.S. Embassy has not released the names of the dead Americans.

The quake leveled 1,150 houses and severely damaged at least 5,300 more, leaving about 60,500 people homeless, the Department of Social Welfare said.

Rescue efforts were concentrated on the devastated towns of Cabanatuan and Baguio, where about 400 people were reported trapped in a half-dozen luxury hotels and factories.

A spokesman for President Corazon Aquino, meanwhile, cited reports from workers who said they believed about 150 people had burned to death in a building housing six factories in the Baguio processing export zone.

Rescuers have been hampered by numerous landslides that closed the road from Manila to Baguio.

Workers used explosives Wednesday in a bid to clear the last of 24 landslides from a main road to Baguio, hoping to open the route to rescue vehicles by nightfall.

Rescuers have given up hope of finding more survivors in the rubble of the six-story Christian College of the Philippines, where 49 students are thought to have been crushed to death, officials said. Workers pulled 179 people from the ruins Tuesday.