Houses damaged as earthquake hits southern Philippines

MANILA • A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit the southern Philippines at dawn yesterday, damaging dozens of houses and sending people fleeing into the streets for safety, the authorities said.

There were no immediate reports of serious casualties but electricity was cut and water pipes ruptured in Lanao del Sur, a mainly rural region some 800km south of Manila, they said.

"Residents are really shocked with regard to the calamity that happened. So they are on standby (at) the highway," provincial disaster official Francis Garcia said over ABS-CBN television.

Patients were evacuated from a district hospital as a precaution, Mr Garcia added.

The state seismology office said the quake was felt in 16 other cities and towns in the south, including the major urban centres of Davao and Cagayan de Oro. It also said a highway had a crack, while wooden houses, a high school and a mosque sustained minor damage.

The tremor came days after a trio of strong earthquakes damaged buildings and caused panicked tourists to flee Mabini, a resort town south of Manila famous for its marine life and coral reefs.

A highway in Lanao del Sur developed a crack while wooden houses, a school and a mosque sustained minor damage in yesterday's early morning quake in the southern Philippines.
A highway in Lanao del Sur developed a crack while wooden houses, a school and a mosque sustained minor damage in yesterday's early morning quake in the southern Philippines. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"Since the (Mabini) quake, our people became more aware to duck, (take) cover and hold," Mr Kristofferson Vidad, a research assistant at the seismology agency, told AFP, referring to the standard advice on surviving quakes.

The Philippines lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.

A 6.5-magnitude quake killed eight people and left more than 250 injured outside the southern city of Surigao in February, and a 5.9-magnitude tremor killed one person there last month.

Before the Surigao quakes, the last lethal earthquake to hit the country was a 7.1-magnitude tremor that left more than 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches when it struck the central islands in October 2013.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2017, with the headline 'Houses damaged as earthquake hits southern Philippines'. Print Edition | Subscribe