Five people were confirmed dead in separate locations and and dozens were hurt when a magnitude 6.6 quake struck parts of Mindanao at 9:04 a.m. Tuesday, with the epicenter traced in the same North Cotabato town during the 6.3 magnitude temblor on October 16.several others injured
Consolidated reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Philippine News Agency revealed that dozen towns and cities lost power, while some school buildings collapsed and triggered fire in one city.
Those killed include a student struck by debris during evacuation in Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur, a 66-year-old man also hit by debris in Koronadal, a father and his child killed in Arakan town, Cotabato, and a pregnant woman in Tulunan town.
Local officials identified the casualties as 15-year-old Jessie Riel Parba, a resident of Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, and Koronadal City resident Nestor Narciso, 67.
Parba, a Grade 9 student, was declared dead on arrival after he was hit by falling debris in his school, officials said.
Narciso was also declared dead on arrival at a local hospital after being hit with blocks of concrete at their church where he was working, church caretaker Isaiah Donaire told the Philippine News Agency.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Tuesday’s quake traced to Tulunan town, Cotabato, was the main shock that came after the 6.3-magnitude temblor that struck the same area on Oct. 16, killing 7 people and hurting 215 others.
Between the two major shocks, some 870 tremors were recorded and 53 were felt, with magnitudes ranging from 1.5 to 5.5 and intensities between I and 7, according to the latest situation report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday afternoon.
A 6.1-magnitude aftershock was recorded an hour after Tuesday’s main temblor, hitting the epicenter. Several smaller aftershocks have been recorded throughout the day.
Quake-stricken areas of North Cotabato, Compostela Valley province, and the cities of Koronadal, Cotabato, General Santos, Tacurong, Cagayan de Oro, Kidapawan and Davao City, immediately declared suspension of classes.
Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte suspended all classes in public and private schools, from kindergarten to post-graduate studies.
Mayor Sara noted that the earthquake may have caused structural and electrical damage to school buildings, making them unsafe for learners.
She also instructed all school owners, teachers, and other school personnel to immediately subject school structures to safety inspection with a qualified engineer.
Duterte said that if they find building defects that are dangerous and need repair, they should immediately condemn the area and not allow students to use the same.
She added that the suspension of classes tomorrow (Oct. 30), shall be on a case to case basis and shall depend on the individual schools’ announcement.
Meantime, authorities remain on alert across Mindanao. Tuesday’s quake was felt strongest at Intensity VII in Tulunan and Makilala in Cotabato, Kidapawan City and Malungon in Sarangani, while Intensity 6 was felt in Davao City, Koronadal City and Cagayan de Oro. Lower intensities were recorded in South Cotabato, Sarangani, Bukidnon, and Zamboanga del Norte.
NDRRMC said the quake also spawned fire incidents at two clinics in General Santos City.
At least 12 cities in the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani reported power outages. A total of 34 cities and towns in Region 12 suspended classes, while work was called off in Magpaet, Cotabato and General Santos City.
Last October 16, Mindanao was shaken by a magnitude 6.3 quake which affected more than 35,000 people in Regions 11 and 12 and some 4,600 of them were still in three evacuation centers according to NDRRMC. (With reports from PNA)