PADADA, DAVAO DEL SUR –– Rescuers dug up another body late Monday night as they continued searching for missing people buried inside a three-story grocery store that collapsed after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck large parts of Mindanao on Sunday.
The body brought the number of fatalities of the recent quake to seven, officials said Tuesday.
Christopher Tan, head of the provincial disaster team, said the remains of a female grocery shopper was pulled out by the Urban Search and Rescue Team of Davao City’s 911 shortly after 10 p.m.
Tan said last night’s strong aftershocks and rain hampered their retrieval operations but they would resume this morning the extraction of remaining victims.
“Ninety-five percent there are no more signs s of life,” Tan told reporters, citing the readings from the rescuers’ life-detection instruments.
The disaster team received information on Monday that at least seven people were inside the building that collapsed.
“Yesterday, one of the victims managed to send a message to her family to tell them six of others were with her inside. But on the device, our rescuers no longer detect a heartbeat from inside the building,” Tan explained.
Despite the negative result of the life detector device, Tan said they were hoping and praying those trapped inside were still alive.
In nearby Matanao town, also in Davao del Sur, Mayor Vicente Fernandez said aside from the six-year-old girl, another 81-year-old woman died of a heart attack at the height of Sunday’s earthquake.
Fernandez said the latest tremor destroyed almost all schools in their town and displaced over 8,000 families were displaced.
Since October, Sunday’s earthquake was the fourth and the strongest to have hit Mindanao. Three quakes measuring 6.3, 6.6 and 6.5 struck Tulunan town within days of each other, leaving thousands of families displaced.
The Philippines sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where earthquakes are frequent, some of which are devastating.
In July 1990, a 7.7-magnitude temblor struck Luzon, killing more than 1,600 people, many of them trapped inside a hotel that crumbled in Baguio.
Edited by Lzb
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.