MANILA: The death toll from a powerful earthquake off the southern Philippines increased to seven on Saturday, with authorities reporting more casualties across two provinces.
The 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the Mindanao region mid-afternoon on Friday caused part of a shopping mall ceiling to collapse, triggered power cuts and sent people fleeing into the streets.
Falling debris from the mall in General Santos City claimed the life of a woman, while 19 other individuals were treated for shock, city police captain Ari Noel Cardos told AFP.
Police earlier reported the death of a couple pinned under a collapsing concrete wall in General Santos, where about 30 students suffering from breathing difficulties and receiving medical attention.
Another fatality occurred as a person was killed by a falling steel structure in the municipality of Glan, in Sarangani province, police officer Paul Mesalido told AFP.
The official of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Manila reported a death in Glan and another in the adjacent Malapatan municipality but provided no details.
In neighbouring Davao Occidental province, an elderly man was struck dead by a large rock that rolled down a hill near his house, said police officer Patrick Laurente.
The state seismology service indicated that the earthquake likely originated from the movement of the earth’s crust along the Cotabato trench, a long, narrow depression on the seafloor forming the boundary between tectonic plates.
The Philippines, situated along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity, with earthquakes being a common phenomenon.