Death toll rises as more earthquakes hit southern Philippines

Manila, More earthquakes shook the southern Philippines on Wednesday as the death toll from a magnitude-6.9 quake over the weekend rose to nine, officials said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) have recorded over 780 aftershocks since Sunday’s quake near Matanao town in Davao del Sur province, 987 kilometres south of Manila.

The strongest aftershock was recorded around 4 am on Wednesday (2000 GMT Tuesday), when a magnitude-5.3 quake struck southeast of nearby Padada town.

Four hours later, another quake measuring a 4.8 magnitude struck in nearby Magsaysay town, Phivolcs said, Deutsche press agency (dpa) reported.

Phivolcs urged residents to stay away from damaged structures, which might collapse due to the aftershocks.

“People are reminded to be cautious of structures visibly weakened or having signs of damage … as these may be further damaged by succeeding earthquakes,” the institute said in a statement on the December 15 earthquake.

Nine people were killed and 111 injured in Sunday’s quake, which damaged thousands of homes and hundreds of public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads and bridges, the national disaster relief agency said.

Three people were killed when a three-storey building collapsed in Padada town.

A search and rescue operation was called off at the site on Tuesday evening after no signs of life were detected in the rubble.

Emergency workers were initially trying to reach an area where six people were allegedly trapped, after receiving a text message from one of them.

Officials said they plan to clear the site to check for the victims on Wednesday.

Source: Bahrain News Agency