MANILA - Authorities remain on alert across Mindanao as the southern islands reeled from a 6.6-magnitude earthquake that struck less than two weeks since a deadly temblor hit the same area and thousands remained in evacuation centers.
As of this writing, 5 people in separate locations were confirmed dead and several others injured, a dozen towns and cities lost power, and the quake caused school buildings to collapse and triggered fire in one city.
Those killed include a student struck by debris during evacuation in Magsaysay town, Davao del Sur, a 66-year-old man also hit by debris in Koronadal, a father and his child killed in Arakan town, Cotabato, and a pregnant woman in Tulunan town.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Tuesday's quake traced to Tulunan town, Cotabato, was the main shock that came after the 6.3-magnitude temblor that struck the same area on Oct. 16, killing 7 people and hurting 215 others.
Between the two major shocks, some 870 tremors were recorded and 53 were felt, with magnitudes ranging from 1.5 to 5.5 and intensities between I and 7, according to the latest situation report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday afternoon.
A 6.1-magnitude aftershock was recorded an hour after Tuesday's main temblor, hitting the epicenter. Several smaller aftershocks have been recorded throughout the day.
Tuesday's quake was felt strongest at Intensity VII in Tulunan and Makilala in Cotabato, Kidapawan City and Malungon in Sarangani, while Intensity 6 was felt in Davao City, Koronadal City and Cagayan de Oro.
Lower intensities were recorded in South Cotabato, Sarangani, Bukidnon, and Zamboanga del Norte.
In its noon report, the disaster agency said the quake spawned fire incidents at two clinics in General Santos City.
At least 12 cities in the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani reported power outages. A total of 34 cities and towns in Region 12 suspended classes, while work was called off in Magpaet, Cotabato and General Santos City.
Regional disaster management offices have started damage assessment and needs analysis, the NDRRMC said.
The Philippine National Police tasked its regional offices in Mindanao to coordinate with local government units on response efforts.
TOLL OF EARLIER QUAKE
Mindanao was shaken by another temblor while it has yet to recover from the October 16 quake, which affected more than 35,000 people in Regions 11 and 12, according to NDRRMC figures.
Some 4,600 of them were still in three evacuation centers.
The earlier quake damaged more than 7,000 structures across Mindanao, including more than 1,300, mostly houses, destroyed.
Government has released P6.37-million in assistance to families affected by the 6.3-magnitude quake, the disaster management agency said.