A 6-year-old girl was among at least four people killed, while several dozen were injured as a strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit Davao del Sur and parts of Mindanao on Sunday afternoon.
According to the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the earthquake hit at around 2:11pm. Its epicenter was traced to nine kilometers west of Matanao town, at a depth of three kilometers.
Matanao Mayor Vincent Fernandez told Super Radyo dzBB yesterday that a 6-year-old girl was killed in Asinan Village in Matano when a wall of their house collapsed due to the quake, hitting the child in the head. She was reportedly rushed to the disaster center, but was pronounced dead on arrival. Bureau of Fire Protection Chief Samuel Tadeo told GMA News that three other people were killed when a supermarket collapsed in Padada town, and six others were rescued from the collapsed three-story building.
ABS-CBN News reports that at least 37 people were injured in the areas affected by the quake.
Mayor Fernandez added that Matanao town suffered severe damage, including two cracked bridges and a collapsed municipal hall, Manila Bulletin reports. The Davao Region Public Information Office also noted that, as of today, 33 towns in Davao del Sur have reported that houses, town halls, and health centers had “totally collapsed.”
Davao International Airport also sustained cracks in the quake’s aftershocks, though no structural damage to the airport’s runway has been reported. Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson Eric Apolonio told Super Radyo dzBB that, as of today, operations are continuing as normal, and that passengers will be notified by airlines if there will be any disruption to their scheduled flights.
On PHIVOLCS’ 10-point earthquake intensity scale, level VII (destructive) was reported in the Davao del Sur towns of Matanao and Magsaysay. Level VI (very strong) was experienced in Bansalan town, as well as five other cities outside Davao, including General Santos City; Alabel and Malapatan, in Sarangani town; and Kidapawan City and Koronadal City, in Cotabato and South Cotabato, respectively.
Level V (strong) was reported in Cotabato City and the towns of Tulunan and Matalam towns in Cotabato, Cotabato City and Davao City.
PHIVOLCS has reported a total of 179 aftershocks as of 6pm last night.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters that both President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Kitty, who were in their house in Davao when the quake struck, were safe. He added that First Lady Honeylet Avanceña was in a car on her way home when the quake happened, and was also unhurt.
Panelo said that the government will be monitoring areas hit by the quake, adding, “All concerned agencies of the government have been mobilized to respond to the present conditions and provide immediate assistance to those in need.”
The recent tremor is the strongest recorded in Mindanao this year, and comes after a series of quakes rocked the island region in October.