MANILA — A pregnant woman and a child were among 3 people killed in Cotabato, the epicenter of a powerful quake that flattened structures across Mindanao, local officials said Wednesday as they scrambled to distribute aid to survivors still reeling from a previous deadly tremor.
Boulders crushed the 7-year old fatality and his 44-year-old father in Arakan town during Tuesday's quake, while falling debris killed a pregnant woman in neighboring Tulunan town, officials said.
The quake injured 180 people in Cotabato, provincial disaster officer Mercedita Foronda told radio DZMM. Several schoolchildren were among those hit by falling debris when the quake struck while they were taking exams, added Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza.
Tuesday's magnitude 6.6 quake prompted the evacuation of patients to gymnasiums and added damage to some 273 school buildings previously cracked by an Oct. 16 tremor that killed at least 5 across the region, Mendoza said.
Local authorities were still assessing the damage and have coordinated with the social welfare department to distribute tents and food, especially in Kidapawan City and Makilala, M'lang, Tulunan towns, which were hit worst by the quake, said Foronda.
"Iyong unang lindol, malakas din po... pero ngayon mas malakas po s'ya at iyong kaniyang impact, mas malaki," said Foronda.
(The first quake was also strong, but the latest one was stronger and caused greater impact.)
A number of smaller tremors, including one measuring magnitude 6.1, continued to rock the region, causing anxiety on the ground with people refusing to go back inside buildings for fear of being caught in any resulting collapse, authorities said.
Cotabato officials were studying if they can again declare a state of calamity to tap emergency funds — a move they had made twice this year due to increasing cases of dengue and the El Niño weather pattern, said Mendoza. With a report from Agence France-Presse