MANILA -- (UPDATE) At least 23 people have died from a series of earthquakes that struck Mindanao since Oct. 16, officials said Sunday.
Of this figure, 17 were from the province of Cotabato, according to 3rd district board member Joemar Cerebo.
Six were from Davao region, said Office of Civil Defense regional director Manuel Luis Ochotorena.
Ten persons remain missing, two from Davao and 8 from Cotabato, the officials said. Rescue operations have yet to continue due to persistent rains, they said.
Three powerful quakes hit the region last month: a 6.3-magnitude tremor on Oct. 16, and a 6.6 temblor and a 6.5 one struck on Oct. 29 and 31, respectively.
Some 189 persons were wounded in Cotabato, where the epicenter of the quakes was located, and 24,973 families were evacuated, and a total of 27,880 households were affected, according to Cerebo.
In Davao region, some 1,191 families or 4,964 individuals have been evacuated, while 2,722 households have chosen to reside beside their houses in fear of sleeping inside.
The quake-hit areas are in need of tents, food, and water, according to Cerebo.
"Sa dami po ng ating IDPs (internally displaced persons) at mas lalo pa pong naging malala ang sitwasyon kasi palagi pong umuulan dito sa North Cotabato at saka marami rin pong natatakot na pumasok sa kanilang bahay," he told radio DZMM.
"Lalo na po sa gabi, natutulog po sila sa labas ng kanilang bahay kaya nangangailangan po sila ng tents."
Cerebo urged donors to course their assistance through local disaster offices.
National disaster officials, meantime, recorded at least 21 fatalities, 432 injured, and 2 missing persons following the quakes.
Some 35,661 families or 178,305 individuals have been affected by the quake in 200 barangays, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.