Series of quakes damage GenSan mall

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 6 June) – A portion of a shopping mall building here collapsed on Thursday morning reportedly due to the series of earthquakes that affected the area since last week.

The latest of a series of earthquakes hit Sultan Kudarat province dawn of 6 June 2019 with a magnitude of 5.4, contributing to the collapse of a portion of the KCC Mall in General Santos City. Infographic courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Dr. Agripino Dacera Jr., head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said portions of the façade, corner wall and roofing of the KCC Mall here gave way around 7:30 a.m. but no casualties were reported.

He said two motorized pedicabs and several motorcycles were hit by debris, which fell at a portion of the mall’s parking area and the driveway near the main entrance along Jose Catolico Avenue.

“It’s fortunate that there were no casualties as it happened early and not during mall hours,” Dacera told reporters.

Citing their assessment, the official said the styropore held by metal cladding at the mall’s “false wall” reportedly loosened and eventually fell.

He said the styropore materials connected to the concrete wall might have weakened due to normal wear and tear, and was aggravated by the three earthquakes since Friday.

“The metal cladding was connected by rivets and according to my personal knowledge, these would loosen during shaking,” he said.

The first major quake on May 31 was measured at 6.2 magnitude and another occurred on June 1 with 5.4 magnitude, with epicenter traced in the seas off Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental. But there were minor quakes before the first quake and series of aftershocks after the first and second quakes.

At 5:20 a.m. Thursday, a 5.4 magnitude quake hit neighboring Sultan Kudarat province.

In an advisory, the KCC mall management attributed the collapse of the mall’s corner wall and façade to the “successive earthquakes.”

“The foam board insulation attached to the corner structure of the mall has been weakened. At approximately 5:20 a.m. today, there was also an earthquake that has loosened it,” it said in a post on its official Facebook page.

As of 9 a.m., it said the area was already safe and the McDonalds outlet hit by debris as well as “the rest of KCC Mall of GenSan is back to its usual operating schedule.”

As a result of the incident, Dacera said they recommended the conduct of structural audit on other government and private buildings in the city, especially those over 10 years old.

The audit will be spearheaded by the City Engineering Office and the Office of the Building Official, he said. (MindaNews)