Students cover their heads with books as they participate in the nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill in Quezon City, the Philippines, last month. Picture: Xinhua/Rouelle Umali

Manila - Seven people were rescued from a building that collapsed in the eastern Philippines after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck, killing two people and injuring more than 70 others, officials said Friday.

One of those rescued from the three-storey building in the town of Kananga in Leyte province, 558 kilometres south-east of Manila, was seriously hurt, while the others suffered minor injuries.

A 40-year-old man died in the building's collapse, but nobody else was reported missing, said provincial Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla. 

Schools were suspended in Leyte after the Thursday earthquake to allow engineers to check classrooms to ensure their safety, Petilla said. Authorities were also assessing damage to public buildings.

A 19-year-old woman died after she was hit by falling concrete blocks in nearby Ormoc City, the national disaster relief agency said.

Power was cut off to the majority of Leyte, while the entire provinces of Bohol and Samar were without electricity after the tremor damaged some transmission lines and facilities, energy officials said.

The quake also triggered the automatic shut-down of a geothermal plant near the quake's epicentre, which was located north-east of Ormoc City.

More than 240 aftershocks have been recorded in Leyte 12 hours since the quake struck, said Mina Marasigan, a spokesperson for the national disaster relief agency.

"We expect that there will be more aftershocks in the coming days, and we have to remember that these aftershocks can also result in harm," she said. "We need to remain calm and alert."