At least 5 dead as strong earthquake shakes parts of Mindanao

Rommel Rebollido

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At least 5 dead as strong earthquake shakes parts of Mindanao

Shards from materials can be seen inside a mall damaged after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked General Santos City on November 17, 2023.

Kinneth Bendijo/PonD News Asia

(3rd UPDATE) General Santos Mayor Lorelie Pacquiao says around 200 people were rushed to the local government-run Dr. Jorge Royeca Hospital after the November 17 earthquake

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines –The death toll in the Soccsksargen region following the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck parts of Mindanao on Friday afternoon, November 17, rose to five.

At least three people died in General Santos City, and two other deaths were reported in Glan and Malapatan towns in Sarangani, authorities said on Saturday, November 18.

The earthquake, with its epicenter in Davao Occidental, was most strongly felt in Glan.

WRECK. A section of the Pangolima family’s house in Sapu Padido village, Malapatan town, Sarangani, collapse onto a pickup truck following a magnitude 6.8 earthquake on Friday, November 17. Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

Police reported a couple died when a concrete wall collapsed on them in the village of San Isidro, General Santos.

Authorities said a pastor and a trader died in Sarangani province.

Antonio Acharon, the disaster risk management officer for Glan, confirmed one fatality in the town, where rocks and boulders fell on a highway, rendering the road impassable.

A police report released on Saturday showed that around 326 people were injured.

It said many students suffered panic attacks.

People scampered and disorder ensued in General Santos City and other parts of Soccsksargen where the damage was widespread and extensive.

Photographs released by the General Santos city government showed a local hospital overwhelmed by patients in the aftermath of the powerful earthquake felt across Mindanao regions.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that the earthquake hit Sarangani in Davao Occidental, at a depth of 63 kilometers, at 4:14 pm on Friday.

General Santos Mayor Lorelie Pacquiao told local broadcaster DXMD-Radio Mindanao Network that around 200 people were rushed to the local government-run Dr. Jorge Royeca Hospital after the earthquake.

Pacquiao said that while some were injured, many suffered panic attacks triggered by the tremor.

Soccsksargen police spokesperson Major Rissa Hernaez reported widespread damage caused by the earthquake.

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Magnitude 6.8 earthquake rocks Davao Occidental

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake rocks Davao Occidental

Malls in General Santos sustained extensive damage, prompting people to panic and rush outside, as shown in various photos and videos that spread online. Many sought refuge by ducking under tables.

Parked vehicles were damaged by falling debris.

Car, Transportation, Vehicle
DAMAGED. A man looks at a parked car damaged by falling debris in General Santos. Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

At least 13 buildings were damaged, including three government edifices in General Santos.

Officials said the Buayan Bridge, which links the city to Alabel town in Sarangani province, was damaged.

At the Sarangani Provincial Hospital, patients were evacuated outside for fear of aftershocks.

The afternoon tremor resulted in heavy traffic jams in General Santos.

General Santos and Sarangani province were plunged into darkness for hours after the earthquake damaged a major power line.

There were landslides in several areas in the Soccsksargen, and several buildings and houses were damaged.

In Glan, Sarangani, local government workers started clearing operations along a highway affected by a landslide, said Adrian Mischael Gino Morallas, operations chief of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Soccsksargen.

Acharon said they had cleared a portion of the road already on Saturday morning.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) raised its alert level to “blue,” indicating preparedness for emergency response.

OCD-Soccsksargen Director Raylindo Aniñon said they were closely coordinating with local governments and other RDRRMC member agencies.

OCD Davao Region chief Ednar Dayanghirang said Davao Occidental also plunged into darkness due to the powerful earthquake.

He said initial reports indicate widespread infrastructure damage, and local governments were making assessments as of posting time.

Nani Danlag, a science research assistant at the Phivolcs station in General Santos, told Rappler that the epicenter was along the sea, where there was a massive fault.

“The quake was felt strong because of the shallowness of its origin,” Danlag said.

She said a team from Phivolcs central office would arrive on Sunday, November 19, to undertake a quake damage assessment. – with reports from Ferdinand Zuasola/

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