Strong quake rocks southern Philippines
Deaths, injuries and building damage reported in Mindanao as authorities warn of aftershocks.
A damaged house is seen here in Tulunan town, Cotabato province, after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Oct. 29. (Photo courtesy of Erwin Angulo)
At least two people were killed and damage to churches, school buildings and other structures was reported after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Oct. 29.
The tremor came more than a week after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the Mindanao region, killing seven people and injuring at least 60 others.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported that the earthquake's epicentre was located in Cotabato province, 972 kilometers south of the capital Manila.
Seismology experts said there was no tsunami threat.
A 67-year-old construction worker helping rebuild a church and a 15-year-old student hit by debris at a school were reportedly killed, while social media posts showed the walls of several churches had suffered cracks. It was unclear how many people were injured.
In the city of Digos, the roof of a school building of the church-run Cor Jesu College nearly collapsed. The same building suffered damage in the Oct. 16 quake.
"We are still assessing other damage," said Digos mayor Josef Cagas.
A radio report said several children in Tulunan town, the epicenter of the quake, were injured when their school collapsed.
The earthquake struck at 9.04am, causing people to rush out of buildings.
Mayor Reuel Limbungan of Tulunan ordered the suspension of classes and the working day to allow authorities to check on affected structures.
"All patients in hospitals should also be moved outdoors for now," the mayor told a Manila radio station in an interview.
He said his office has been receiving reports of injuries that have to be confirmed, while the town hall was reportedly destroyed.
The town hall of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur province also suffered damage while a portion of a gymnasium collapsed.
Salvador Panelo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman, said the authorities are monitoring the situation.
"All responsible government agencies and local government units are currently undertaking rapid damage assessment and a needs analysis of affected areas and communities," he said in a statement.
He called on people to remain calm and warned of possible aftershocks and against the spreading of disinformation that might cause panic.
The Philippines is located within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where about 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur.
The last major earthquake to hit the country was a 7.1-magnitude tremor that killed more than 220 people in the central Philippines in October 2013.
In July 1990, more than 2,400 people were killed on the northern island of Luzon in a magnitude-7.8 quake, one of the strongest ever to hit the country.