Powerful quake kills at least 15 in southern Philippines

The quake’s epicentre was about 13 kilometres east of the city of Surigao but there was no tsunami threat.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Confined patients of Miranda Family hospital stay outside after an earthquake hit Surigao city, southern Philippines, February 10, 2017.

A powerful earthquake in the southern Philippines killed at least 15 people, injured over 100 others, damaged buildings, and an airport and knocked out power, officials said on Saturday.

The magnitude 6.7 earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres and the epicentre was about 13 km east of the city of Surigao, some 700 kilometres (430 miles) southeast of Manila, the US Geological Survey reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there was no tsunami threat from the earthquake.

Some were killed after being hit by falling debris and blunt objects, provincial disaster-response official Ramon Gotinga said, citing hospital reports.

Debris from a building of Surigao State College and Technology is seen on a car after an earthquake hit Surigao city, southern Philippines, February 10, 2017. (Reuters)

Nearly 100 aftershocks have been felt, officials said, adding that schools were being reopened as evacuation centres for residents wary of returning to their damaged homes.

"We're still doing a rapid needs and damage assessment," Office of Civil Defense director Antonio Gonzales said.

Village leaders asked residents to move to a school building on higher ground, officals said.

The last major earthquake that struck Surigao, an impoverished region also dealing with a communist insurgency, was in the 1800s, said Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines' seismic agency.

A magnitude 7.7 quake killed nearly 2,000 people on the northern island of Luzon in 1990.

TRTWorld and agencies