Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits southern Philippines

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii says no destructive Pacific-wide tsunamis were expected

At least three people were killed and dozens injured when a strong, shallow earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Wednesday.

The force sent residents in Davao and other big cities in Mindanao fleeing buildings.

Two people were killed and 18 injured in a landslide in Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur province, national disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal said.

A seven-year-old girl was killed when a wall in her house collapsed, said Reuel Limbungan, mayor of Tulunan town in North Cotabato province.

The disaster agency said 27 people were injured and 15 buildings damaged, including shopping malls, schools and town halls.

The earthquake also shook Davao City, the home town of President Rodrigo Duterte and among the most populous cities in the country.

The magnitude 6.4 tremor was recorded near the city of Columbio, about 70 kilometres south-west of Davao and 70km north-west of General Santos City, the US Geological Survey said.

The earthquake was only 14 kilometres deep, according to the US monitor. Local seismologists said the quake struck 7.37pm local time (3.37pm UAE).

The Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre account @LastQuake pinned the epicentre here:

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said no destructive Pacific-wide tsunamis was expected.

The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes.

"We felt a very strong jolt and there was a blackout. I saw people rushing down. We were panicking, heading to the exit," said Naru Guarda Cabaddu, a hotel consultant visiting Kidapawan City between the epicentre of the quake and Davao.

"I was driving back home when I felt a very powerful shake. I stopped and saw people and patients running out of the hospital," Raprap Rafael, a resident of Kidapawan City, said.

Footage from the Philippines News Agency posted videos of Filipinos rushing out a mall in Davao shortly after the tremor hit. Local television said an elderly man was injured in the panic.

The Philippines news agency posted pictures of structural damage at a college in nearby Digos.

Chief Philippine government seismologist Renato Solidum advised residents to check their homes for possible damage.

Mr Solidum told the ANC news channel there was a chance of aftershocks after the quake, considered strong and capable of causing severe damage.

"Aftershocks can happen. Some can be felt most likely in low intensities. But we cannot remove the possibility of similar intensities that can be felt in the epicentral area," he said.

A community at the foot of a mountain had to evacuate because of more than 200 aftershocks, Psalmer Bernalte, a Kidapawan city disaster official, told CNN Philippines channel.

Max Fuentes, a resident of Davao City, told DZMM radio that he felt a strong aftershock. "We received info from our friends that there is blackout in Digos City in Davao," he said.

The Phillipines archipelago is regularly hit by earthquakes. In July, eight people were killed in Batanes in the far north.

In April a 6.3-tremor shook the capital Manila and northern Luzon. Eleven people were killed.

Updated: October 17, 2019 11:10 AM

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