Deadly earthquake hits southern Philippine island of Mindanao

At least seven dead after magnitude 6.6 quake struck southern Philippines with epicentre reported at Tulunan town.

Earthquake Philippines
A woman on a stretcher is assisted by a companion after a powerful earthquake was felt in Davao City in southern Philippines on Tuesday [AP]

At least seven people were killed after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Tuesday, just over a week since a strong tremor jolted the same area and left seven people dead.

The quake’s epicentre was located inland northeast of Tulunan town in Cotabato province, 972km (604 miles) south of Manila, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

Seismology experts said there were no threats of a tsunami.

A 15-year-old high-school student from Davao del Sur province was confirmed dead after being hit by a hollow blocks during the quake, the public information office of Magsaysay town in the province was quoted by news reports as saying. Another woman was also killed in the province after being buried in a landslide.

CNN Philippines is also reporting that a 66-year-old man died in Koronadal City, South Cotabato after sustaining head injuries during the incident.

A father and his child was also killed in the town of Arakan, Cotabato, according to ABS-CBN News.

In Tulunan, a pregnant woman was killed after being hit by a falling beam of a house, while a 36-year-old man suffered a heart attack during the evacuation in Digos City.

A Manila-based radio station also reported that several children in Tulunan were injured when their school collapsed. 

The quake was initially reported as magnitude 6.8 but was later downgraded to 6.6.

The quake struck at 9:04am (0104 GMT), rattling buildings and forcing people to rush out of offices, schools and hospitals in the affected areas, according to initial information from the institute and videos shared on social media.

Photos posted on social media also showed a collapsed school building in Tulunan and several injured students.

In an interview with Manila-based radio station DZMM, Renato Solidum, head of the country’s earthquake monitoring agency, warned of more aftershocks.

Mindanao, Philippines

Tulunan Mayor Reuel Limbungan said he had ordered classes and work to be suspended to allow engineers to check buildings.

“All patients in hospitals should also be moved outdoors for now,” he told Manila radio station DZMM. “This was a stronger earthquake from last time.”

Dibu Tuan, mayor of the neighbouring town of T’boli, South Cotabato described the earthquake on Tuesday as “stronger” than the tremor that hit earlier this month.

On October 16, a 6.3-magnitude quake struck almost the same area, with the epicentre located southwest of Makilala town in nearby North Cotabato province.

Seven people were killed in that quake, which also left 215 people injured, disaster relief officials said.

The Philippines is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where about 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes strike.

The last major quake to hit the country was a 7.1-magnitude tremor that killed more than 220 people in the central Philippines in October 2013.

In July 1990, more than 2,400 people were killed in the northern island of Luzon in a magnitude-7.8 quake, one of the strongest ever to hit the country.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies