Mindanao quake impact 'lesser' than Batanes, Pampanga tremors: NDRRMC
MANILA — The earthquakes in Pampanga and Batanes provinces earlier this year each damaged more buildings than the magnitude 6.3 temblor that rattled Mindanao this week, the head of the disaster office said Thursday.
The earthquake struck about 22 kilometers southeast of Tulunan, North Cotabato on Wednesday night, opening cracks in buildings and homes, sending panicked residents onto the streets and leaving at least 4 dead.
"This earthquake is lesser in impact to those earthquakes recently in Pampanga and Batanes," National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.
Pampanga's magnitude 6.1 quake in April damaged the belfry of a heritage church and flattened a 4-story supermarket in Porac town, killing at least a dozen. It also forced the over 24-hour suspension of operations at the Clark airport, after its ceiling collapsed.
Meanwhile, hundreds of limestone structures in Itbayat, Batanes' northernmost town, crumbled in July after a series of quakes that also damaged schools, a hospital and a church, leaving 9 dead.
Wednesday's quake damaged 4 hospitals and 19 other establishments in Soccskargen and destroyed 4 houses, said the region's disaster public information officer, Jorie Mae Balmediano.
The NDRRMC is "still trying to get more information through our regional offices who are in direct contact with local government units," Jalad said.
The quake injured about 60 people, initial reports said. Most of these were due to falling debris or stampedes during evacuation, said Jalad.
"Hindi na kinakailangan na national level ito mag-orchestrate, within their respective premises, buildings, magkaroon sila ng evacuation protocol at papractice-in nila iyan para maging muscle memory na," he told radio DZMM.
Aftershocks could be strong and capable of causing severe damage, said Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines seismic agency.
"Aftershocks can happen. Some can be felt most likely in low intensities. But we cannot remove the possibility of similar intensities that can be felt in the epicentral area," he said.
The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes. With a report from Reuters