Home Environment Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Southern Philippines

Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Southern Philippines

Earthquake of 6.8 Magnitude

MANILA — A powerful undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck the southern Mindanao region of the Philippines on Friday, Nov. 17, officials reported. The quake, which initially registered as a 7.2 magnitude, occurred at 4:14 p.m. local time, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

While the earthquake has been downgraded to 6.8 magnitude, the destructive force of the tremor has raised concerns about potential damage. However, there have been no immediate reports of injuries or casualties, and no tsunami warning has been issued at this time.

Videos shared by a local news outlet captured scenes of panic and chaos as people evacuated from a hospital and sought refuge on the floor of a shopping mall in General Santos city, located in South Cotabato. The footage also showed signs and antennas on a 17-story building trembling from the seismic waves. Fortunately, all employees were safely evacuated.

Reports indicate that the earthquake caused the Old Buayan Bridge, connecting General Santos and Sarangani, to crack and shut down. In addition, power outages have been reported in several parts of the southern Philippines.

As the Philippines lies on the “Ring of Fire,” a region susceptible to seismic activity due to its proximity to tectonic plate boundaries, earthquakes are relatively common. However, each occurrence serves as a reminder of the vulnerability of the region to natural disasters and the importance of preparedness.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has directed government agencies to swiftly respond and ensure the safety and well-being of those affected. The Philippine Red Cross has also mobilized its resources, providing first aid and medical attention to students who collapsed during the earthquake.

The Office of Civil Defense has reported power outages in General Santos, Lebak, and Sultan Kudarat, as well as damaged houses in Sarangani and an affected school. Emergency alerts and warnings have been sent to six areas, underscoring the need for vigilance and caution in the aftermath of the earthquake.

As the situation unfolds, authorities and relief organizations are working diligently to assess the extent of the damage and provide assistance to affected communities. The resilience and solidarity of the Filipino people will undoubtedly be crucial in overcoming the challenges brought about by this natural disaster. (Isabel Almonte)