Death Toll Rises to Six in Southern Philippines Earthquake

A security guard walks beside the damaged ceiling of a shopping mall in General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines on Friday Nov. 17, 2023. A powerful undersea earthquake has shaken the southern Philippines. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake measured magnitude 6.7 and was located 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Burias at the southern tip of the Philippines. (AP Photo/Shaira Ann Sandigan)

The aftermath of a magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck the southern Philippines on Friday has resulted in a death toll of six, with authorities still searching for two missing individuals, according to local disaster officials. The offshore quake occurred off Mindanao island at a depth of 60km, affecting the provinces of Sarangani and Davao Occidental.

Agripino Dacera, the disaster office chief of General Santos City in the province of South Cotabato, reported three deaths in the area. A couple lost their lives when a concrete wall collapsed on them, and another woman died in a shopping mall. In Sarangani province, near the epicenter, at least two people died, and rescuers are actively searching for two others missing due to a landslide.

In Davao Occidental province, a 78-year-old man lost his life after being crushed by a rock. While power supply has been restored, and most roads are passable, reports indicate minor damage to homes and buildings. The earthquake struck offshore at the southern tip of the Philippines, off the provinces of Sarangani and Davao Occidental, at a depth of 60km, according to the German Research Centre for Geosciences.

The Philippines, located within the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” is prone to volcanic activity and earthquakes. The recent seismic event underscores the ongoing vulnerability of the region to natural disasters, prompting local authorities to remain vigilant and responsive in managing the aftermath.