Magnitude 6.9 quake, with 179 aftershocks, damage 315 structures in Davao Sur

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 16 December) – At least 315 structures in Davao del Sur province were damaged by the Magnitude 6.9 earthquake that jolted parts of Mindanao Sunday afternoon, data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council  (NDRRMC) showed.

Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, NDRRMC executive director, said at least 179 aftershocks, of which 32 were plotted and 10 were felt, followed the temblor with an epicenter at six kilometers northwest of Matanao town.

Jalad released SitRep 01 at 8 p.m. Sunday, which stated that the quake totally damaged the Southern Trade Shopping Center in Padada town.

Partially damaged structures included the police station and the Maria Cleta National High School in Padada; the barangay hall of Poblacion in Matanao; the police station and the Nadila Elementary School in Kiblawan; the municipal hall of Magsaysay; the municipal hall, Sangguniang Bayan building and the Hagonoy National High School in Hagonoy, he said.

Jalad said the temblor also partially damaged at least 315 houses in Hagonoy town.

Sunday’s quake was the fifth with over Magnitude 6 strength to hit parts of Mindanao in the last two months.

An earthquake with Magnitude 6.3 rattled portions of Mindanao on October 16; Magnitudes 6.6 and 6.1 on October 29; and Magnitude 6.5 on October 31.

Hours after Sunday’s quake, Padada Vice Mayor Francisco Guerrero said rescuers had detected “signs of life” from one of the three people trapped at the collapsed Southern Trade Shopping Center.

Rescuers digging into the rubble of the three-story shopping store had received text messages from one of the trapped persons, he noted.

“This trapped individual texted a friend, a rescuer, and told him he was still alive under that building,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero said rescuers had brought in a backhoe equipment to dig into the rubble but was stymied by their lack of experience.

“Our rescuers do not have the training and are ill-equipped to deal with an emergency like this,” Guerrero said.

He said rescuers earlier rescued four people from the collapsed commercial building in front of the town market.

Engineer Luke Cadoyas, Padada town disaster risk reduction and management officer, appealed for assistance from neighboring towns and national government agencies.

He said another building, the two-story Canlas Commercial building, also collapsed due to the quake.

A six-year-old girl identified as Cherbelchen Imgador died after she was hit by falling debris in Barangay Asinan, Matanao town, Davao del Sur.

The Davao del Sur public information office said at least 14 people were hurt by the quake. (MindaNews, with a report from Froilan Gallardo in Cagayan de Oro City)