Emergency teams search for survivors of quake in southern Philippines

Manila, Emergency teams on Monday rushed to rescue people trapped under collapsed structures after a powerful earthquake struck in the southern Philippines killing at least four, officials said.

Hundreds of strong aftershocks were hampering search and rescue operations in the affected areas in the southern region of Mindanao, said Mark Timbal, spokesman for the national disaster relief agency, DPA reported.

“Rescue operations are ongoing but they have to stop from time to time because of the aftershocks,” he told Manila radio station DZMM.

“We also need to ensure the safety of the rescue workers.”

The epicentre of Sunday’s 6.9-magnitude tremor was located near the town of Matanao in Davao del Sur province, 987 kilometres south of Manila, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

The quake was felt in other provinces in Mindanao, where residents were still recovering from the damage caused by three major earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks in October.

In the town of Padada in Davao del Sur, a three-storey supermarket collapsed, trapping customers and employees.

At least two bodies have been retrieved from the rubble, but authorities said at least seven people were still trapped.

“According to retrieval workers, they detected a heartbeat [underneath the debris] using their equipment,” said Christopher Tan, an officer with the provincial disaster relief agency.

“We are strategizing how to rescue that person. Hopefully, they survive.”

A six-year-old girl was also confirmed killed in Matanao town after being hit by a falling concrete wall in their house, while one more casualty was reported in the town of Hagonoy, local officials said.

Source: Bahrain News Agency