A powerful and shallow quake hit several southern Philippine provinces Wednesday night injuring some people in collapsed houses and prompting thousands to scramble out of homes, shopping malls and a hospital in panic, officials and news reports said.
The quake, which was 14 kilometres deep, was centered around 7.7 kilometres from the city of Columbio, according to the USA monitor.
PHIVOLCS reported that the natural disaster was of tectonic origin with a depth of focus of only 2 kms. Shallow quakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones. A fire broke out in a shopping mall in General Santos city shortly after the quake, but officials said the spark for the fire was unknown.
Two of the children reported killed were in houses that collapsed, while a mother and her five-year-old son died after being buried in a landslide, local authorities told AFP. Several buildings were damaged, including Pinol's office, where the glass-windowed facade fell.
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In Magsaysay town, in the nearby province of Davao del Sur, 20 people were injured by falling debris and home furniture, Anthony Allada, the municipality's information officer, told DZMM. "Many houses were damaged, some totally". Some can be felt most likely in low intensities.
Some areas lost power, including the transport hub of Kidapawan city.
Schools in quake-hit areas, including the president's hometown of Davao city, suspended classes on Thursday so buildings can be inspected for damage.
It was not known if there were still people inside the building, which was evacuated as the quake struck.
He said there was no risk of a tsunami because it occurred inland, and there were no immediate reports of serious damage.