Mindanao M6.9 earthquake: 700 aftershocks, 14 021 homes damaged or destroyed, 9 people killed and 99 injured

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The M6.9 earthquake in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines on December 15, 2019, has killed 9 people, 99 were injured and 1 remains missing. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recorded 700 aftershocks as of Tuesday, December 17. Of those, 295 were plotted and 70 were felt.

A total of 108 471 people were affected in 96 barangays in Region XI, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council's (NDRRMC) said in their update released at 12:00 UTC on Tuesday, December 17. 

The quake killed 9 people in Regions XI and XII, 99 were injured and 1 person remains missing.

The search, rescue, and retrieval operations were jointly undertaken by the Municipal Government of Padada, Philippine National Police Regional Office in Davao Region (PRO-Davao), Rescue 911 of Davao City, and BFP-Davao. 

A total of 14 021 homes were damaged in the municipalities of Hagonoy, Matanao and Padada, Davao del Sur in Region XI, of which, 2 760 totally and 11 261 partially.

45 public structures were damaged in Regions XI and XII, of which 9 totally and 36 partially. In addition, 20 schools were partially damaged, 18 health facilities and 31 other structures.

NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said the bureau has coordinated with government agencies to ensure the continuous distribution of relief goods to the afflicted population.

PHIVOLCS warned of possible landslides, rock falls, and other types of mass movements on hilly areas. Liquefaction may also affect low-lying, water-saturated and sandy areas near shorelines and river banks.

Moreover, PHIVOLCS head Renato Solidum said they expect "more aftershocks to occur in the next several days to weeks."

The earthquake took place at 06:11 UTC (14:11 LT), with PHIVOLCS reporting a depth of 3 km (1.8 miles), while the USGS reported M6.8 at a depth of 22.4 km (13.9 miles).

According to PHIVOLCS' primer, Davao is one of the seismically active regions in the Philippines. Active faults in the area include the Tangbulan Fault, Central Digos Fault, and Cotabato Fault System (CFS) composed of Makilala-Malungon, Makilala, M’lang, North Columbio, South Columbio, and Balabag.

Mindanao was shaken by several earthquakes in the past months– a strong and shallow M5.9 north of Kadingilan on November 18, M6.5 in Cotabato on October 31, and M6.3 in North Cotabato on October 16 where at least 21 died and over 20 000 buildings were left in ruins.

Featured image credit: Kiblawan Defenders

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