Updated: More than 50 injured as 5.8 magnitude quake rocks Surigao del Sur

Photo grabbed from USGS website/Courtesy United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Fifty-one people were injured and several homes, churches and other buildings damaged on Saturday when an earthquake sent terrified residents of the southern Philippines fleeing their homes before dawn, police said.

The 5.8-magnitude quake struck the northeast coast of Mindanao island at 4:42 am (2042 GMT Friday) at a depth of 11.8 kilometres (7.3 miles), with the Philippine seismology office also recording seven less intense aftershocks.

The quake struck five kilometers east southeast of Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) however recorded it at 5.5 magnitude.

Courtesy Phivolcs

It was felt at intensity 4 in Surigao City in Surigao del Norte, Tandag City in Surigao del Sur, Gingoog City and Magsaysay in Misamis Oriental, and Talacogon in Agusan Del Sur.

It was felt at intensity 3 in Cagwait, Surigao Del Sur; Balingoan, Salay, Balingasag, Jasaan and Villanueva in
Misamis Oriental; and Cagayan De Oro City, according to Phivolcs monitoring.

Officers at the police station in Madrid town, near the epicenter, ducked beneath tables as the glass door of a filing cabinet splintered and a television set fell and shattered off a table, said its police chief Lieutenant Wilson Uanite.

“We saw people running out of their homes. A number of residences sustained minor damage like cracked walls,” Uanite told AFP by telephone.

Patients were also evacuated at the Madrid District Hospital, which sustained cracks on its concrete walls, he added.

The roof of an old car park in Madrid collapsed, causing slight damage to the town’s two fire trucks and three cars, Uanite said.

The impact was also felt in four neighboring towns, damaging homes, two Catholic churches, a hotel, a gym, a bridge and a public market, the civil defence office in the region said in a written report.

A restaurant tipped over into a nearby river in Cantilan town, while residents reported broken plates and glass and ceramic decorative figurines in their homes, police officer Johannes Tipon told AFP by telephone.

Earlier, rescue officials listed 25 injured people across the region, including six in Madrid and a girl and her father who were struck by falling masonry that fell through a roof and into their bedroom in Cantilan. The figure of those injured however increased later on to more than 50.

The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

The country’s most recent deadly quake occurred in April when at least 11 people were killed in a 6.3-magnitude temblor that hit a region north of the capital Manila, causing a supermarket to collapse.

(with a report from Agence France-Presse)