2 dead, dozens hurt as strong quake jolts parts of Mindanao anew

Two died and dozens were hurt when a magnitude 6.6 quake struck parts of Mindanao at 9:04 a.m. Tuesday, with the epicenter traced in the same North Cotabato town during the 6.3 magnitude temblor on October 16.

Local officials identified the casualties as 15-year-old Jessie Riel Parba, a resident of Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, and Koronadal City resident Nestor Narciso, 67.

Parba, a Grade 9 student, was declared dead on arrival after he was hit by falling debris in his school, officials said.

Narciso was also declared dead on arrival at a local hospital after being hit with blocks of concrete at their church where he was working, church caretaker Isaiah Donaire told the Philippine News Agency.

Classes suspended

Quake-stricken areas of North Cotabato, Compostela Valley province, and the cities of Koronadal, Cotabato, General Santos, Tacurong, Cagayan de Oro, Kidapawan and Davao City, immediately declared suspension of classes.

Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte suspended all classes in public and private schools, from kindergarten to post-graduate studies.

Mayor Sara noted that the earthquake may have caused structural and electrical damage to school buildings, making them unsafe for learners.

She also instructed all school owners, teachers, and other school personnel to immediately subject school structures to safety inspection with a qualified engineer.

Duterte said that if they find building defects that are dangerous and need repair, they should immediately condemn the area and not allow students to use the same.

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She added that the suspension of classes tomorrow (Oct. 30), shall be on a case to case basis and shall depend on the individual schools' announcement.

Damages, injured

In Cagayan de Oro, local officials reported damages to several properties.

Although the epicenter was in Tulunan, Cotabato, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said Cagayan de Oro experienced Intensity VI, while the province of Misamis Oriental had an "instrumental Intensity IV."

Cracks were visible in some business establishments, including Ayala Centrio mall, which suspended operation after debris were seen falling from its call center building.

One person was rushed to the ambulance after she experienced panic attacks while five others fell unconscious although they were not injured, officials said.

In other areas, local officials reported dozens were rushed to hospitals but most of them only suffered loss of consciousness.

Local disaster management officials have yet to account for the number of injured people as of posting time.

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