Southern Philippines hit by 6.8 magnitude earthquake

MANILA (AFP) – A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao yesterday, geologists said, the same area struck by a string of deadly tremors in October.

People rushed from homes and restaurants set swaying by the strong jolt south of the populous city of Davao and the Philippine Institue of Volcanology and Seismology said it was expecting damage. There was no threat of a tsunami, said the United States (US) Geological Survey, which initially reported the magnitude at 6.9.

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.

Three quakes above 6.0 magnitude hit roughly the same area of Mindanao in a matter of weeks in October, killing some two dozen people and heavily damaging office buildings, schools and apartments. Tens of thousands of people were forced into shelters by the string of tremors, the government said, either because their homes were damaged or they were too afraid to return.