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7.2-magnitude quake near Sarangani causes injuries

/ 01:35 AM April 30, 2017
Residents pass by a structure that collapsed in General Santos City at the height of the 7.2-magnitude quake.—AQUILES ZONIO

Residents pass by a structure that collapsed in General Santos City at the height of the 7.2-magnitude quake.—AQUILES ZONIO

GLAN, Sarangani — A 7.2-magnitude earthquake caused injuries and minor structural damage here and in General Santos City after it struck at sea some 53 kilometers southwest of Sarangani Island in Davao Occidental, authorities said.

At least four persons were injured here and in General Santos City.

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The 7.2 measurement was made by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) although the US Geological Service (USGS) detected the same quake but measured it at 6.8 magnitude.

USGS said the quake epicenter was 37 km southwest of this town.

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Phivolcs said the quake was felt in at least 15 provinces and six cities in Mindanao, including Cagayan de Oro City. The agency had raised a tsunami alert but lifted it after a few hours.

Panic at dawn

Rene Punzalan, Sarangani province disaster management officer, said three persons were reported injured here.

Reports reaching Inquirer said people in areas near the quake’s epicenter had panicked and sought cover, with one person actually suffering injuries as he stumbled.

Punzalan said the quake also damaged this town’s port, a supermarket, a hospital, a soft drink warehouse, a police station and the town hall.

Two boats were damaged by waves stirred by the quake.

Cesar Dataya, Glan port manager, said the entire port area was now deemed unsafe because of the damage wrought by the quake.

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The Department of Public Works and Highways said a nearly 40-meter long, 15-centimeter deep crack was seen at the Glan port by a DPWH engineer.

In General Santos City, a building being demolished collapsed during the tremor and one person was injured.

Agripino Dacera, city disaster management officer, said several buildings also suffered cracks. No casualties were reported.

Roads passable

“All roads are passable and all infrastructures are intact,” Dacera said.

“Only minor damage was reported in some private buildings, including city hall,” he said.

Dacera said construction worker Ronelo Gamboa was injured when he stumbled while trying to run for safety at the height of the quake.

Harry Camoro, Davao Occidental disaster management officer, said the quake struck past 4 a.m. and caused a sudden rise in sea water level but no damage was reported.

In Zamboanga City, where the quake was felt at Intensity 4, engineer Allan Rommel Labayog of Phivolcs said the agency was expecting reports of damage, though.

The quake was felt at Intensity 5 in General Santos City and Davao Occidental; Intensity 4 in the cities of Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga; Intensity 3 in Cagayan de Oro City, and Intensity 2 in some North Cotabato areas, including Kidapawan City.

Ominous crack

The quake had since generated 16 aftershocks, the strongest of which was measured at 4.1 magnitude. Phivolcs said it expected more aftershocks.

Residents were jolted from their beds and ran onto the streets as the earthquake struck, causing a brief power outage.

“The floor appeared to rise first before swaying violently from side to side. Then the lights went out,” said Adrian Morallas, who was at work at the civil defense office in General Santos City at the time of the quake.

“I ducked and took cover under my desk in line with our disaster training, though it was very difficult to do that in the dark with the ground shaking,” he said.

The quake struck at a depth of 41 km, USGS said.—ALLAN NAWAL, AQUILES ZONIO, JULIE ALIPALA, JULIE M. AURELIO AND EDWIN FERNANDEZ WITH AFP

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TAGS: Phivolcs, Sarangani earthquake
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