Philippines earthquake kills seven, hundreds injured

A resident walks past destroyed houses after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit Tulunan town, North Cotabato province, on the southern island of Mindanao. (AFP)
Updated 29 October 2019

Philippines earthquake kills seven, hundreds injured

  • In Tulunan town, 90 percent of the structures, including schools and health centers, had either collapsed or were totally damaged
  • Videos posted on social media showed panicked office workers screaming as they ran into open spaces

MANILA: The southern Philippines woke up to a powerful earthquake on Tuesday, which killed at least seven people and injured hundreds. The disaster comes as traumatized residents are still recovering from a similar incident from two weeks ago.

The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the 6.6 magnitude quake of tectonic origin struck some 26 km northeast of Tulunan in Cotabato at 9:04 a.m. 

Many of the affected areas were still recovering from the 6.3 magnitude tremor that struck on Oct. 16.

In Tulunan town, a pregnant woman was killed after she was struck by a piece of wood outside her home as she tried to run for cover.

The town’s mayor, Reuel Limbungan, said 90 percent of the structures, including schools and health centers, had either collapsed or were totally damaged.

“All schools in the three villages were totally destroyed. It was very traumatic for the children,” said Limbungan. Children were in classes when the earthquake struck.

The mayor said some of the students had to crawl out of the debris after their classrooms crumbled.

Tsai Via, a teacher at Daig Elementary School in Tulunan, said in a radio interview that parents and teachers “had to pull children from under the rubble.”

An earthquake-triggered landslide isolated a village with 4,000 residents.

In Magsaysay town, police reported that approximately 300 people were injured, although most of them only sustained minor injuries.

Cpl. Kristen Nahine said two people were killed: A 15-year-old student who was hit by debris while evacuating to safer ground, and a woman who was buried in a landslide.

Nahine added that two people were reported missing.

In Koronadal, South Cotabato, an elderly man was killed after he was hit by fallen debris while helping to rebuild an evangelical church.

A father and his young child died in Lanao Kuran, South Cotabato, after a huge rock rolled on them while they were at their farm. Another fatality was reported in Digos City.

Authorities said up to 108 people were injured in Cotabato.

Videos posted on social media showed panicked office workers screaming as they ran into open spaces. Hospital patients were evacuated.

The earthquake left many areas without electricity, while classes were ordered suspended for the rest of the week.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the national government is closely monitoring the situation in Mindanao following the strong earthquake.

“We ask our citizens to remain calm but vigilant and we urge them to refrain from spreading disinformation that may cause undue alarm, panic and stress to many people. We also urge them to monitor developments through the alerts and bulletins of official government channels,” said Panelo.

“All responsible government agencies and local government units are currently undertaking rapid damage assessment and analysis of affected areas and communities in order to properly assess the situation and coordinate rescue and relief operations,” he added.

LIVE: Trump, Biden push into crucial first 2020 campaign presidential debate

Updated 56 sec ago

LIVE: Trump, Biden push into crucial first 2020 campaign presidential debate

  • Trump and Biden arrived in Cleveland hoping the debate would energize their bases of support

CLEVELAND: President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden prepared to face off Tuesday in their crucial first debate of the 2020 campaign, the most pivotal opportunity yet for the candidates to outline starkly different visions for a country facing multiple crises.

Trump and Biden arrived in Cleveland hoping the debate would energize their bases of support, even as they competed for the slim slice of undecided voters who could decide the election. It has been generations since two men asked to lead a nation facing such tumult, with Americans both fearful and impatient about the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 of their fellow citizens and cost millions of jobs.

With just 35 days until the election, and early voting already underway in some states, Biden steps onto the stage holding leads in the polls — significant in national surveys, close in some battleground states — and looking to expand his support among suburban voters, women and seniors. Surveys show the president has lost significant ground among those groups since 2016, but Biden faces his own questions encouraged by Trump’s withering attacks.

Follow it live below, all times GMT:

02:25 - As we near the end of the debate, fair elections and the integrity of the election comes up. Trump calls the expected widespread voting-by-mail a "fraud" and says we may not know the result of the election "for months."

Biden tells Americans they have the power to choose the direction the US will take for the next four years, and whether they want four more years of Trump's lies.

QUOTE: “Show up and vote. You will determine the outcome of this election. Vote, vote, vote,” Biden said.

02:15 - The next segment of the debate moves onto climate change, Trump outlines his supposed achievements in the sector during his term in office, but the big takeaway is Biden saying he would rejoin the Paris accord on climate - which Trump pulled the US out of - if he’s elected president.

Biden also admits that he would not support the Democratic plan known as the “Green New Deal” - which critics have said goes too far and is too expensive - and instead says he backs his own “Biden Deal.”

02:05 - 

QUOTE: In rebuttal, Trump tells Biden: “In 47 months, I’ve done more than you’ve done in 47 years.”

01:55 - Trump goes for a personal attack, aiming for Biden's son Hunter for business dealing in Ukraine. Biden steers conversation away back toward coronavirus pandemic and its ravaging of US families, debate should not focus on his family.

QUOTE: Facing interruption from Trump and told to offer up his word, Biden says: “It’s hard to get any word in with this clown -- excuse me, this person.”

01:45 - When quizzed on his approach to the shutdown of the American economy, Trump quickly blames what he calls the “China Plague” for forcing him into the shutdown of a self-proclaimed “greatest economy ever built”...



01:35 - Trump is asked to qualify why the American public should trust him on COVID-19 - Biden uses his segment to say that Trump could not be trusted, and that the public's trust should be placed in the scientists. Trump asserts that Biden would have "lost way more people" had he been in power.

QUOTESTrump to Biden: “You didn't think we should've closed our country (to China) because you thought it was terrible... We've done a great job. But I tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job we've done. You don't have it in your blood.”

01:25 - As Trump takes a question regarding his policy on healthcare, the segment descends into a shouting match between the two candidates - who throw insults at each other - but the thrust of Trump's argument is "Obama-care doesn't work, and is too expensive to run." Biden ends the segment by saying "Keep yapping, man..."

QUOTES: Biden, told by Trump that he has adopted former Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders “socialized medicine” proposals: “Everybody here knows he's a liar ... you picked the wrong guy on the wrong night at the wrong time.”

“Folks, do you have any idea what this clown's doing? I tell you what, he is not for anybody needing healthcare.” After Trump explains his health proposal, Biden says: “He has no plan for healthcare. ... The fact is this man has no idea what he's talking about.”

01:15 - Trump fields his first question and it regards his Supreme Court nomination - in an election year - of Amy Coney Barrett. Trump justifies the nomination - saying “elections have consequences,” and saying Barrett would be “as good as anybody that has served on that court. We won the election, and therefore we have the right to choose her.”

Biden responds by saying results of the upcoming election should determine who nominates the justice to fill the seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “We should wait and see what the outcome of this election is,” Biden said.

01:05 - With both candidates on stage, we're under way...

01:00 - With the First Lady Melania Trump and the rest of the Trump family in place, moderator Chris Wallace of FOX News lays down the ground rules of the debate. Seconds away...

00:45 - We are minutes away as Trump and Biden are all set for the much anticipated first  presidential debate. Millions across America are on the edge of their seats...

*With Agencies