MANILA: A powerful earthquake struck central Mindanao in the southern Philippines on Thursday (Oct 31), killing at least five people and seriously damaging buildings already rattled by two previous deadly tremors.
The 6.5-magnitude quake hit the island of Mindanao, the US Geological Survey said, causing locals to run to safety in the same area where a strong tremor killed eight people on Tuesday.
A social welfare officer said five people in North Cotabato province died due to the quake, including a village chief when the office wall collapsed on him.
The powerful shaking also caused serious damage to a condominium building in the major southern city of Davao, which was about 45km from the epicentre.
At least eight people were hurt at the building, and rescuers had launched a search to determine if residents might be trapped inside, police told AFP.
A collapsed structure in another town crushed and killed a local official who was inside to help with an improvised medical treatment centre set up after the previous quakes.
A hotel in Kidapawan City that also housed other businesses collapsed, but there was no one inside, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista told DZMM radio.
Locals have been left terrified by a string of powerful quakes, and hundreds of aftershocks since the first powerful tremor struck on Oct 16.
"Everyone rushed outside," said Reuel Limbungan, mayor of the Tulunan town, which was once again near the epicentre. "It was as strong as the previous one."
Hundreds of families on Mindanao island, which makes up the southern third of the Philippines, have been living in shelters because they are afraid to go home.
USGS initially said the quake had a magnitude of 6.8, and added there was no threat of a tsunami. The quake's epicentre was 33km northeast of Tulunan town in Cotabato province, which lies west of Davao City.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in his hometown Davao City about 114km from Kidapawan City when the quake struck, is safe, his spokesman, Salvador Panelo, told ANC news channel.
PHIVOLCS said Thursday's quake could be considered an aftershock following the 6.6 quake that jolted central Mindanao on Oct 29 and left at least eight dead and more than 300 injured.
The Philippines suffers regular tremors as part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
In the 6.6 magnitude quake on Tuesday, a teenage boy was crushed by a falling wall as he tried to escape his school in Magsaysay, the town spokesman told AFP. Though other students were injured in a "stampede" to escape the building, they survived.
Rock and landslides unleashed by the violent shaking killed four others, while a collapsed wall crushed a man, authorities said.
At least 50 people were hurt by falling debris, including some seven pupils and teachers hurt escaping their collapsed elementary school.
The area was still suffering the effects of a 6.4-magnitude quake that hit less than two weeks ago, killing at least five people and damaging dozens of buildings.
One of the deadliest quakes to hit the Philippines recently was in April, when 16 people were killed as a building near the capital Manila collapsed and the secondary Clark airport was shut down due to damage to the passenger terminal.
High-rise structures in the capital swayed after the April quake, leaving some with large cracks in their walls.