Five dead in Philippine quake

17 Oct 2019 / 18:58 H.

MANILA: Five people were killed and dozens were injured after a powerful earthquake hit the southern Philippines, authorities said Thursday.

The 6.4-magnitude quake struck the Mindanao region on Wednesday night, reducing dozens of houses to rubble on the southern third of the Philippines.

On Thursday afternoon, authorities said five people were killed and 53 injured, mainly in a cluster of small farming towns.

Three people were killed in landslides while another was crushed by the collapsed wall of a house. The fifth suffered a fatal heart attack, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

No fatalities were reported in Mindanao's major cities. Local authorities had earlier told AFP three children were among the dead.

The Philippine seismology office has recorded more than 300 weaker aftershocks in the area since the big quake, but authorities said they do not expect the toll to rise significantly.

The disaster council's spokesman Mark Timbal told local television it had not received any reports of missing people from any of the quake-hit areas.

"People have returned home... They are OK now, unlike last night when they were terrified and slept on roads beside their homes," Zaldy Ortiz, civil defence officer of Magsaysay town, told AFP.

Local school and government holidays were announced in Magsaysay, where the landslides struck, to allow building inspectors to check structures for damage, Ortiz added.

Power was being restored in the bigger cities, but there was substantial damage to some hospitals, government buildings, schools, churches and houses in the small towns, the council said in a report.

In General Santos City, firefighters on Thursday finally put out a blaze that started at a shopping mall shortly after the quake.

The Philippines is part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

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