1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Philippines earthquake death toll rises

November 18, 2023

At least seven people have died after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake shook the southern Philippines on Friday. Rescue efforts are ongoing with two people feared trapped under a landslide.

A security guard walks beside the damaged ceiling of a shopping mall in General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines
Falling debris caused some of the deaths after the powerful quakeImage: Shaira Ann Sandigan/AP/picture alliance

The death toll from a strong submarine earthquake off the southern Philippines rose to seven on Saturday, with rescuers continuing to search for two more people feared buried beneath a landslide.

The 6.7-magnitude quake that struck the Mindanao region on Friday afternoon caused part of a shopping mall ceiling to collapse, triggered power cuts and sent people fleeing into the streets.

Philippines earthquake: where was the epicenter?

The epicenter was located 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Burias at the southern tip of the Philippines, the United States Geological Survey said, at a depth of 78 kilometers (48 miles). But no tsunami warning was triggered.

Police officers and rescue workers told the French AFP news agency that one woman had been crushed to death by falling debris in General Santos City, where another couple were killed after being pinned under a collapsed concrete wall.

People inspect a damage site from an earthquake in General Santos City, the Philippines
Quakes are frequent in the PhilippinesImage: GenSan City Police Office/Xinhua/picture alliance

Another person was killed by a falling steel structure in the municipality of Glan in Sarangani province, while firemen were still digging with shovels as they searched for two members of a family feared buried beneath a landslide at a remote mountain village.

"The village chief reported to us that a mother and her child were trapped beneath the rubble," rescue worker Daniel Nocos told AFP.

The quake damaged 60 houses in four provinces as well as 32 roads and bridges across the region, authorities said, adding that around 450 people were being treated with panic and breathing difficulties.

Pacific 'Ring of Fire'

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic and volcanic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

But most are too weak to be felt by humans.

Friday's quake was likely generated by the movement of the earth's crust along the Cotabato trench, a long, narrow depression on the seafloor that forms the boundary of one tectonic plate pushing against another, according to the local seismology service.

mf/lo (AFP, AP)