The authorities reported that two strong earthquakes hit southern Philippines on Tuesday, with the second one causing building destruction and forcing hundreds of villagers to leave their homes.
The US Geological Survey reported that a 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit the mountainous province of Davao de Oro on the island of Mindanao at 2 p.m. local time. The earthquake occurred at a shallow depth, just a few kilometers from the city of Maragusan, and resulted in the destruction of buildings and the displacement of hundreds of villagers from their homes.
Earthquakes that occur at shallow depths often cause greater damage than those that occur at deeper depths. However, local authorities said that Tuesday’s quake did not cause significant damage.
But a second earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 occurred at a shallow depth after about three hours in the neighboring New Batan, causing the collapse of some houses.
Lyn Dolorulasa, the official in charge of disaster management in the area, said that about 300 people were forced to leave their homes in the village of Andab, where “a number of houses collapsed.”
Also, 100 people were injured inside a shopping center in the city of Tagum in the adjacent Davao del Norte province, by shattered glass and falling panels while they were fleeing the building, according to the local official Jay Suaybaguio.
Suaybaguio explained to the French Press Agency, “I was on the third floor buying office supplies when the earthquake occurred.” Pictures posted on the Davao del Norte Disaster Agency’s Facebook page showed collapsed parts of the ceiling inside the Tagum shopping center, caused by “the series of tremors.”
The first earthquake lasted for 30 seconds and was followed by aftershocks, according to the police officer Stephanie Climaco from the city of Tagum, which is located 40 kilometers away from Maragusan.
She added to the French Press Agency, “We immediately took cover under our desks, and when the ground stopped shaking, we went out” of the building. She continued, “We are still outside because a moderate aftershock just occurred.”
Climaco noted that the earthquake, which did not appear to cause any destruction, was strong enough “to create fear.”
On the “Ring of Fire”
The Philippines experiences almost daily tremors due to its location on the “Ring of Fire,” which is responsible for seismic and volcanic activity and stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and the Pacific basin.
The majority of these earthquakes are weak and not felt by the population, but some occur randomly and can be strong in the absence of technology that enables their prediction.
Civil defense regularly conducts earthquake training. The last major earthquake occurred in October in the north of the Philippines.
The earthquake, which measured 6.4 on the Richter scale, struck the mountain town of Dolores in Abra province, causing numerous injuries and damage to buildings, and cutting off electricity to most of the area. In July 2022, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the mountainous province of Abra caused landslides and ground cracks, resulting in the deaths of 11 people and injuries to hundreds.