Strong aftershock rattles Davao del Sur

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 18 2019 06:05 AM | Updated as of Dec 18 2019 10:41 AM

Quake death toll hits 9 

MANILA — A magnitude 5.3 tremor rattled Davao Del Sur on Wednesday, the strongest aftershock so far following a powerful quake that cracked hundreds of buildings and left at least 9 dead this weekend, officials said. 

The 4 a.m. aftershock hit 28 kilometers southeast of Padada town, which was also the epicenter of Sunday's magnitude 5.9 quake, said state seismology office Phivolcs. 

At a depth of 9 kilometers, the aftershock caused "strong" intensity 5 shaking in Digos City, which could make hanging objects swing "violently", said Phivolcs. The aftershock was also felt in General Santos City at intensity 4 or "moderately strong" shaking which is "like the passing of heavy truck", added the agency. 

It was the strongest of the 782 aftershocks recorded so far, which were hitting at about 10 minutes apart, Phivolcs science research specialist Leniel Villalobos told ABS-CBN News. 

Another magnitude 4.8 aftershock struck neighboring Magsaysay town around 8 a.m. It was felt at intensity 4 in Bansalan town and Digos City, and at intensity 2 in President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, Davao City, said Phivolcs. 

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum earlier urged the public to stay away from damaged buildings as the aftershocks could continue in the next several days. 

Four other tremors with magnitudes above 6 had hit the region since October, killing some 2 dozen and forcing tens of thousands into shelters, said the state seismology office Phivolcs. 
 
Sunday's quake left 9 dead and 111 injured, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a report. 

The tremor also damaged 128 schools, 19 health facilities and 41 other public structures, it said. 

The Philippines is situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
 
Duterte, who is from Davao and was there during the quake, was not hurt.

"The first lady... said the car she was riding (in) was swaying," spokesman Salvador Panelo said. — With a report from Agence France-Presse