23 dead after series of earthquakes in Mindanao 

The 6.5-quake damaged a mid-rise condominium in Davao City.
| Philstar.com photo

A TOTAL of 23 people have died from the earthquakes that have struck areas of Mindanao since mid-October, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management  Council (NDRRMC) said in its latest report. 

Released on Friday, November 1, the numbers said seven were killed on October 16, when a 6.3 magnitude quake struck the northeast portion of Tulunan, Cotabato. Ten people were killed during the Tuesday, October 29 6.6 magnitude quake that hit the same area, while six died in the 6.5 magnitude on Thursday, Oct. 31 that hit  Cotabato and neighboring areas.

The tectonic tremor on Thursday was 33 kilometers northeast of Tulunan town — the same epicenter of Tuesday’s magnitude 6.6 quake and Oct. 16’s magnitude 6.3.

In addition to the death toll of the three quakes combined, two others remain missing and 618 injured, as of press time.

On Friday, November 1, another earthquake hit Mindanao — this time, a magnitude 5.5 quake off the southern province of Davao Occidental, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

According to the state seismologists, the most recent earthquake hit 334 kilometers southeast of Sarangani town around 10:30 a.m.

It added that at a depth of 33 kilometers, no intensity was reported for the tremor and that it is not expected to cause damage; however, it may spawn aftershocks.

Tulunan Mayor Reuel Limbungan said 90% of the structures in Barangay Daig had collapsed during the two previous quakes and several more covered courts and government health centers across the town were damaged by the latest temblor.

The Thursday quake also flattened a hotel in neighboring Kidapawan City to the ground, severely injuring several people.

“The building fully collapsed. Our ambulances are responding there because some people were severely injured. We hope that we will not reach the point where many more are trapped under the debris,” said local disaster officer Psalmer Bernalte.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo assured that President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Davao City when the quake struck, “is safe.”

At a depth of two kilometers, the quake was felt in the areas listed below:

Intensity VII – Tulunan, Cotabato; Kidapawan City; Bansalan, Davao del Sur; Intensity VI – Matanao, Davao Del Sur

Instrumental Intensities: Intensity VII – Kidapawan City; Intensity V- Malungon, Sarangani; Intensity IV- Kiamba and Alabel, Sarangani, Tupi, South Cotabato, Koronadal City, General Santos City; and Intensity III – Gingoog City; Cagayan De Oro City.

A total of 6,009 families or 30,045 persons were affected in 72 barangays in Davao and Soccsksargen, the NDRRMC said.

Earlier, Philvocs said that the Philippines is straddling the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

It added that the archipelago tallies about 20 earthquakes a day.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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