14 dead in series of Mindanao quakes this week

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Thirteen people have been killed in a series of destructive earthquakes in parts of Mindanao this week. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 31) — Fourteen people have been killed and scores more injured in a series of destructive earthquakes in parts of Mindanao this week, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

At 9:11 a.m. on Thursday, a magnitude 6.5 temblor rocked Tulunan and parts of Mindanao killing at least three people in Makilala, Cotabato. It was the latest in a series of powerful tremors this week.

The most severely hit areas were Tulunan; Kidapawan City; Sta. Cruz, Matanao, Bansalan, and Magsaysay in Davao del Sur, which felt the tremor at a “destructive” Intensity VII. Meanwhile, Davao City and Hagonoy in Davao Del Sur were rocked by "very strong" shaking at Intensity VI.

Rescuers in Davao City, tended to 11 victims who suffered injuries.

A six-storey building in Kidapawan City which houses Eva Hotel, a bank and a law office partially collapsed. No one was hurt, even if adjacent structures were affected by the collapse.

The hotel has been closed since the magnitude 6.3 quake last October 16. Six workers were inside when Thursday's quake struck, but they were able to flee the building on time.

Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista said the building needs to be demolished as soon as possible.

Five were injured in Digos City, including two employeed of 3-F Happy Shoppers, which partially collapsed.

Like Eva Hotel, 3-F Happy Shoppers has been closed for since the October 16 quake after cracks emerged on its walls.

Workers were transferring merchandise when the quake struck.

The Digos City government said it will pass an ordinance to ensure all buildings that will be built will be structurally sound in case of an earthquake.

A condominium in Davao City also partly collapsed, injuring nine and possibly trapping more inside.

Road networks are also badly affected, with two lanes of a portion of the Cotabato-Davao Highway being closed to traffic due to damage from the quake.

Two other lanes at each side of the highway, however, remain open.

In Cotabato City, more residents stayed outside of their homes for the night.

In Makilala town, panic-stricken residents fled their community which lies on the foothills of Mount Apo — parts of which collapsed following the quake.

Traffic also has to be limited for motorists passing the San Vicente Bridge in Makilala town due to visible cracks in the road.

Two days earlier, another earthquake with magnitude 6.6, jolted the same town and nearby areas, which led to the deaths of 10 people and the injuries of at least 395 others.

The areas of Tulunan, Makilala and Kidapawan City in Cotabato; Digos City, Bansalan, Magsasay in Davao del Sur and Malungon in Sarangani felt Tuesday's quake at Intensity VII while Davao City and Koronadal City experienced Intensity VI.

As of Thursday 3 a.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has recorded 685 aftershocks from Tuesday. However, it said that the more recent strong quake is not an aftershock.

A quake can only be an aftershock if the magnitude is gradually going down, Phivolcs Science Research Special Erlinton Olavere said. However, he warned that more earthquakes in the area may possibly occur.

Phivolcs said Cotabato often experiences earthquakes due to active faults in the province. These include the M’lang Fault, Makilala-Malungon Fault, North Columbio Fault, South Columbio Fault, and the western extension of the Mindanao Fault (Cotabato-Sindangan Fault).

Olavere said the recent series of quakes was due to the faults reacting to each other.

CNN Philippines' David Santos and Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.