Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 29 January 2020

Strong quake in southern Philippines kills one, injures several

Experts rule out risk of tsunami from magnitude-6.8 tremor

A fireman inspects a damaged market in the quake-hit town of Padada, Davao del Sur province, Philippines. EPA
A fireman inspects a damaged market in the quake-hit town of Padada, Davao del Sur province, Philippines. EPA

A strong earthquake struck near Davao City in the southern Philippines on Sunday, killing a child, damaging buildings and causing several injuries, officials said.

The centre of the magnitude-6.8 quake was 61 kilometres south-west of Davao City on the island of Mindanao, at a depth of 28.2km, the US Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat from the quake, based on available data.

Vincent Fernandez, the mayor of Matanao town in Davao del Sur province, near the epicentre, told Radio DZMM that a six-year-old girl died when a wall collapsed on her.

Mr Fernandez said the extent of the damage was not yet clear but the authorities needed food, water, tarpaulins and blankets to help residents.

Anthony Allada, public information officer of nearby Magsaysay Town, said 14 people had been injured but none seriously. Roads and buildings, including the local government office, were damaged and power was out in the town, he said.

The region was shaken by four powerful quakes in October and November, which together killed at least 20 people.

"We don’t know what to do any more. Do we respond first or attend to our families first?”, Mr Allada told Radio DZMM.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao, was in the city when the quake struck.

“He is OK. He and his daughter Kitty were in their house when the quake struck," presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. "First Lady Honeylet was on her way home when the ground trembled. She said her car was swaying. She is unhurt.”

A three-storey building collapsed in the town of Padada, in Davao del Sur, the local disaster agency said. The authorities said some people were inside the building, which housed a grocery market, and a rescue effort was under way.

"I saw the building when it fell," Leighton Angcan, a resident of Padada, said. “It was the tallest here and it was really destroyed. I saw people running outside."

Video footage posted on Twitter showed overhead electrical wires swaying and emitting a shower of sparks. Another video showed water sloshing out of a shaking hotel swimming pool.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said damage and aftershocks could be expected.

Several strong aftershocks were recorded after the main tremor, the strongest being magnitude 5.7, centred north of General Santos City.

The Philippines sits on the geologically active Pacific "Ring of Fire" and experiences frequent tremors.

Updated: December 15, 2019 04:01 PM