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KIDAPAWAN CITY – A powerful earthquake killed 5 people and injured dozens more in southern Philippines, leaving structures cracked and damaged, officials said Thursday.

The aftermath of the earthquake in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province. (Rhoderick Beñez)

The 6.3-magnitude tremor hit North Cotabato late Wednesday and triggered off hundreds of aftershocks in many areas and a fire that gutted almost half of the Gaisano Mall in General Santos City.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology traced the epicenter of the tremor in North Cotabato’s Tulunan town.

But the U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor was 6.4-magnitude and its epicenter was about 7 kilometers east northeast (6.712°N  125.005°E) of Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat province.

Among those dead were children and many of the casualties from the earthquake were from the town of Makilala. Landslides were also reported in the town of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur province.

The Philippines sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a 40,000-kilometer area where large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It has more than 400 volcanoes and sometimes called the circum-Pacific seismic belt. (Rhoderick Beñez)


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