Five dead after quake hits southern Philippines

A store owner guards the remains of his store after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the night before in the city of Digos, Davao del Sur province on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Oct 17, 2019.
A store owner guards the remains of his store after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the night before in the city of Digos, Davao del Sur province on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Oct 17, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (DPA) - The death toll has risen to five with dozens more injured after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook the southern Philippines on Wednesday night (Oct 16), causing landslides and a fire at a shopping mall, the authorities said.

The strong quake rattled North Cotabato and nearby provinces when it struck at around 7.30pm, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

Around 5am on Thursday, another 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit Davao Oriental province. Phivolcs said it was not an aftershock and so far no damage has been reported.

Wednesday night's earthquake forced people to flee malls and buildings, and hospital patients were evacuated into the streets.

In Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur, where most of the houses were damaged, a two-year-old girl died after being struck by falling objects in her sleep, Magsaysay information officer Anthony Allada said. He added that a mother and child died when their house was buried in an earthquake-triggered landslide.

"It was my first time in my whole life that I experienced such a quake," Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said on Wednesday night.

A local official said that a seven-year-old girl from Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao was killed when a wall collapsed. And in M'lang town in Cotabato, a man suffered a heart attack as a result of the shock and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

A fire broke out at a mall in General Santos City right after the quake gutted three floors, but shoppers and employees managed to escape the blaze, the Office of Civil Defence said.