Deadly earthquake strikes South Cotabato, Philippines

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck southern Philippines on Sunday, December 15, killing a 6-year-old girl after a wall fell and crushed her, according to Vincent Fernandez, mayor of Matanao town in Davao del Sur province.

Fernandez said the full extent of the damage is not yet clear, but authorities are asking for food, water, tarpaulins, and blankets to help displaced residents.

A three-story building, the tallest in the city of Padada, collapsed. Authorities said some people were inside the building, which housed a grocery market, and an effort was initiated to reach those who were inside at the time and find out if anyone was trapped, officials said.

Anthony Allada, public information officer of nearby Magsaysay Town, said besides the one confirmed fatality, 14 people were injured but none seriously. Roads and buildings, including the local government office, were damaged and power was out in the town, he said.

Officials in Davao and Cotabato, where the quake was felt strongly, suspended Monday classes to allow checks on the stability of school buildings.

The region was previously shaken by four powerful quakes in October and November, which together killed at least 20 people.

Several strong aftershocks were recorded after the main quake. The strongest was a magnitude 5.7, which occurred north of General Santos City.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said continued damage and aftershocks in the area can be expected.
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