Third strong quake this month kills one in southern Philippines

Eva's Hotel stands damaged after a strong earthquake in Kidapawan, north Cotabato province, Philippines, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. The third strong earthquake this month jolted the southern Philippines on Thursday morning, further damaging structures already weakened by the earlier shaking.


By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: October 31, 2019

DAVAO, Philippines — The third strong earthquake this month killed one person, injured several others Thursday and destroyed buildings that were already damaged by the earlier shaking in a devastated southern Philippine region.

Cities and towns in the quake-hit area suspended school classes and office hours due to fear of more tremors. Many residents may have returned to already-damaged houses despite the risks because of the humid tropical heat, causing some injuries due to falling debris, officials said.

A village hall collapsed in Batasan village in hard-hit Cotabato province and the village leader was pinned to death, Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said.

In Cotabato's city of Kidapawan, a small hotel partially collapsed, crushing the lobby and a bank on the ground floor and causing the building to lean on an adjacent hospital. Both the hotel and the hospital were ordered abandoned because of the previous quake damage but six employees and an engineer were inside Eva's Hotel when the ground shook at midmorning, Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Evangelista said.

"They're supposed to inspect the building with an engineer then it happened. They managed to run out," Evangelista told DZMM radio.

The hospital and the hotel, its concrete columns precariously leaning and its rooms exposed without walls and windows, were cordoned off as they may collapse completely anytime.

In Davao city, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, a five-story condominium partly crashed down on its basement and rescue workers scrambled to bring out nine residents, one of whom was injured and brought to a hospital, officials said.

The residents of the 56-room building had been urged to evacuate after it was damaged by the earlier quake on Tuesday but some defied the warning.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the 6.5-magnitude quake was set off by movement in a local fault at a depth of 3.7 miles about 17 miles east of Tulunan town in Cotabato province. The region already was devastated by two powerful earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks this month.

At least eight people died in Tuesday's 6.6 magnitude quake, two were missing, 395 were injured and more than 2,700 houses and buildings, including schools and hospitals, were damaged, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

An Oct. 16 earthquake with a magnitude 6.3 killed at least seven people, injured more than 200 and destroyed or damaged more than 7,000 buildings.

The Philippine archipelago lies on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," the arc of faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.