The number of fatalities from the magnitude 6.6 tremor that jolted Southern Mindanao has reached nine while those injured rose to 394 as disaster workers labored to rescue two missing persons pinned beneath the rubble in a landslide.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the powerful quake damaged 133 buildings, including 94 schools, 11 health centers, seven public structures, and church and 20 private commercial establishments. Davao City authorities said the quake damaged some 60 public and privately owned buildings.
Among the new fatalities were two men, both aged 33, buried in a landslide in Barangay Tagaytay, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur.
Police Cpl. John Nahine, spokesman of the Magsaysay police station said efforts to retrieve the bodies were hampered by rain.
“For now we have yet to start our search and recovery operations to retrieve the two bodies. What our local disaster responders are doing right now is conducting reconnaissance using a drone… to identify safe routes towards the landslide area,” Nahine said.
Power has been restored in quake-hit areas in Cotabato province, Davao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro City, Maguindanao. South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.
Classes in all levels in the 79 cities and municipalities in Regions 10, 11 and 12 and BARRM remained suspended due to the damage done to schools.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health and the Philippine Red Cross were providing relief and food packs and tents to quake victims.
READ: 6.3-quake jolts North Cotabat
Government and private structural engineers, meanwhile, have been conducting rapid assessment on all damaged buildings to ensure the safety of their occupants and workers.
Hundreds of families fleeing Wednesday morning’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake with numerous aftershocks were in the municipal gym of Matalam town in North Cotabato.
Wounded residents, mostly students from the three most affected towns, were taken to the gym for treatment because the Midway Hospital had limited space.
The Kidapawan Doctors Hospital main building had large cracks on its main firewall, residents said.
In Barangay Aringay, Kabacan North Cotabato, a thick volume of black sand surfaced through deep soil breaks, which scientists at the Universitty of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan town believed was a form of a “soil liquefaction.”
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Wednesday recorded more than 300 aftershocks following a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in some parts of Mindanao.
READ: Kidapawan under state of calamity
Aftershocks were felt in several provinces in Region 11, and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani in Region 12.
At 5:22 a.m. Wednesday, a magnitude 5 quake rocked Tulunan in Cotabato with a depth of 14 kilometers.
Another aftershock followed at 6:21 a.m. with magnitude 4.4 at 30 kilometers east of Tulunan.
On Oct. 16, a magnitude 6.3 quake also shook Mindanao.
Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said both quakes could be generated by the same fault.
He told the residents in the affected areas to stay vigilant, saying more aftershocks may persist even for weeks.
Senate Majoirty Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Wednesday a more thorough geo-mapping of the area needs to be done to identify areas prone to landslides. In this way, Zubiricommunities can be warned if they are located in these danger zones, he said.
“We must take a more proactive stance so that little or no lives are lost during these times of natural calamities,” Zubiri said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta
READ: Quake forces 1.9-million students to skip classes