6.8 quake jolts Davao; kid dies

Duterte safe; 37 hurt; rescue efforts in full swing

A powerful earthquake hit Mindanao on Sunday, killing a child and damaging buildings in an area still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.

Cracks and damages show in several buildings such as the Matanao High School and Municipal Hall of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur following a magnitude 6.8  earthquake (USGS)  that struck Mindanao Sunday morning. A six-year-old child died when the family house collapsed  while  at least 24 other people were   hurt but other reports said 13 more were injured. AFP 
Police said a rescue operation had been launched at a heavily damaged market building near the 6.8-magnitude quake’s epicenter, which is about 90 kilometers from Davao City.

Patients were evacuated from hospitals as a precaution and nervous crowds massed outside shopping malls after the jolt and a series of smaller, but strong aftershocks.

“We can no longer use our office because the walls cracked and the stairs collapsed,” local police spokeswoman Lea Orbuda said. “The power is off and the water taps are dry.”

She added that at least 24 people had been taken to the hospital, adding search operations continued. Another 13 were reported hurt in a neighboring area, police said.

Police said a six-year-old girl died when her house collapsed.

Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas said a team of rescuers has been sent to the town of Padada, where people were trapped inside a commercial building that collapsed.

The President and his daughter, Veronica, were in their house in Davao City when the earthquake struck but they were unhurt, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Mr. Duterte’s partner, Honeylet Avancena, was riding in a car at the time and was unhurt, the President’s spokesman Panelo said.

Jose Niembra, commander of the Presidential Security Group, said the President went back to sleep after the earthquake.

The President’s house was not damaged by the earthquake, he added, but it would still be checked for structural integrity.

Panelo asked the public to remain calm and be vigilant in anticipation of aftershocks.

“We likewise ask the public to refrain from spreading disinformation that may cause undue alarm and panic among affected communities,” Panelo said.

He said all concerned government agencies have been mobilized to respond to the present conditions and provide immediate assistance to those in need.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said buildings at the Davao airport showed cracks after the quake struck. No damage, however, was reported to the airport’s runway.

There was no threat of a tsunami, said the US Geological Survey, which initially reported the magnitude at 6.9.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the quake’s epicenter was located at six kilometers west of Padada town around 12 kms south to Digos City.

The tremor occurred at 2:11 p.m., six kilometers northwest of Padada town.

Of tectonic origin, the quake had a depth of 30 kilometers.

Intensity 7 was felt in Matanao and Magsaysay in Davao del Sur, while Kidapawan City; General Santos City; Bansalan in Davao del Sur; Alabel and Malapatan in Sarangani, and Koronadal City experienced intensity 6.

Intensity 5 was felt in Tulunan and Matalam, Cotabato; Cotabato City; Davao City and Glam in Sarangani, while Kalilangan, Talakag and Dangcagan in Bukidon had intensity 3.

Intensity 2 was felt in Impasug-ong in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro, and intensity 1 in Zamboanga del Sur.

Three quakes above 6.0 magnitude hit roughly the same area of Mindanao in a matter of weeks in October, killing some two dozen people and heavily damaging office buildings, schools and apartments.

Tens of thousands of people were forced into shelters by the string of tremors, the government said, either because their homes were damaged or they were too afraid to return.

Most of the deaths in October were due to collapsing walls and falling debris, including a teenage boy who was crushed by a falling wall as he tried to escape his school.

Other fatalities were attributed to rock and landslides unleashed by the violent shaking that injured at least 400 people.

The Philippines has been hit by several very powerful earthquakes in recent decades, including one of magnitude 7.8 that struck the northern resort town of Baguio in 1990.

That tremor toppled multi-story buildings and hotels, killing some 1,200 people. With AFP

READ: Quake victims gain 5k bottles of drinking water

READ: 3rd quake kills five in Mindanao

Topics: Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines , Honeylet Avancena , Davao City , Earthquake , US Geological Survey
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