Magnitude 6.7 quake shakes south Philippines, kills one

By Mikhail Flores and Neil Jerome Morales

MANILA (Reuters) -A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Friday, killing one person, injuring dozens and damaging buildings, authorities said.

The quake struck off Mindanao island at a depth of 60 km (37.3 miles), according to the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ).

Angel Dugaduga, a disaster response official in the coastal town of Glan near the epicentre, said at least one person died and 18 others were injured based on an initial report.

The town’s municipal office building and gymnasium were also damaged from the quake and electricity had been knocked out by the tremor, Dugaduga added.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.

The Philippine seismology agency PHIVOLCS and the Pacific Tsunamic Warning Center said a tsunami was not expected.

Amor Mio, police chief of nearby Koronadal city, said there were no reports of casualties but officials were checking a shopping mall reported to have been damaged.

“The employees were ordered evacuated for their safety. According to police in the area, there was extensive damage but we could not ascertain definitely yet the extent,” Mio said by telephone.

PHIVOLCS director Teresito Bacolcol told DZRH radio the earthquake’s intensity was “destructive, so we would expect damage”.

The earthquake lasted several seconds, he said, advising residents to be on alert for aftershocks as strong as magnitude 6.2.

Radio announcer Leny Aranego in General Santos city, close to Glan, said the quake shook buildings and desks. “We saw how the walls cracked and computers fell,” he told DZRH radio station.

Michael Ricafort, an economist at the lender RCBC, said in a Facebook post passengers at General Santos City airport were evacuated to the tarmac.

(Reporting by Shubhendu Deshmukh in Bengaluru; and Neil Jerome Morales and Mikhail Flores in Manila; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Andrew Cawthorne)