On Saturday, the death toll of a powerful earthquake that struck the southern Philippines grew to five as more casualties were reported in two provinces.
The 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit the Mindanao Region mid-afternoon Friday caused a part of the shopping mall ceiling to collapse. It also triggered power outages and sent people running into the streets.
A woman was killed by falling debris from a mall in General Santos City, while 19 others were treated for shock. City police captain Ari Noel Cardos said AFP.
The police reported earlier that a couple was killed after being pinned beneath a collapsed concrete wall. In General Santos, about 30 students also received treatment for breathing problems.
A police officer, Paul Mesalido, told AFP that another person died from a falling structure in the municipality of Glan in Sarangani Province.
Mesalido said that Glan police had been dispatched to investigate a reported landslide near a village.
Patrick Laurente, a police officer in the neighboring Davao Occidental Province, reported that a large stone that rolled down a slope near an elderly man’s house struck him to death.
The state seismology agency said that the earthquake was probably caused by the movement of the earth’s crust along the Cotabato Trench, a long and narrow depression in the seafloor that forms the boundary between two tectonic plates.
In the Philippines, where the “Ring of Fire” of the Pacific Ocean is a region of intense volcanic and seismic activity that extends from Japan to Southeast Asia across the Pacific basin, quakes are common.
The majority of earthquakes are not strong enough to feel, but the strongest and most destructive can strike at any time, without warning.