Child killed as quake strikes southern Philippines

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Above, damaged structures after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered 61 kilometers southwest of Davao hit on Sunday, December 15, 2019. (PIA Davao Region Facebook)
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Rescuers look for trapped victims at collapsed market building in Padada, Davao del Sur of southern Philippines on Sunday, December 15, 2019. (Vincent Yaj Makiputin via Reuters)
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Above, damaged structures after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered 61 kilometers southwest of Davao hit on Sunday, December 15, 2019. (PIA Davao Region Facebook)
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Trapped flower vendors are pulled out from a collapsed wall following a strong earthquake that struck Padada, Davao del Sur province, southern Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (John Angelo Jomao-as/AP)
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Above, damaged structures after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered 61 kilometers southwest of Davao hit on Sunday, December 15, 2019. (PIA Davao Region Facebook)
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Above, damaged structures after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake centered 61 kilometers southwest of Davao hit on Sunday, December 15, 2019. (PIA Davao Region Facebook)
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Residents look at a destroyed building after a 6.8magnitude earthquake in the town of Padada in Davao del Sur province on the southern island of Mindanao. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/AFP)
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Updated 15 December 2019

Child killed as quake strikes southern Philippines

  • A rescue operation had been launched at a heavily damaged market building in Padada
  • Patients were evacuated from hospitals as a precaution and nervous crowds massed outside shopping malls

MANILA: A powerful earthquake hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Sunday, killing a child, injuring dozens and damaging buildings in an area still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.
Police said a rescue operation had been launched at a heavily damaged market building in Padada near the 6.8 magnitude quake’s epicenter, which is about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the major city of Davao.
Patients were evacuated from hospitals as a precaution and nervous crowds massed outside shopping malls after the jolt and dozens of smaller, but strong aftershocks.
“We can no longer use our office because the walls cracked and the stairs collapsed,” local police spokeswoman Lea Orbuda told AFP. “The power is off and the water taps are dry.”
A provincial police commander said the number of injured across the hardest hit areas had reached 62, with one confirmed fatality after a child was crushed under a collapsed structure.
The commander, Alberto Lupaz, said there appeared to be some people trapped under the damaged market building but rescue efforts had been delayed.
“They (rescuers) were attempting to check the rubble... the aftershocks were too strong,” Lupaz said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao, was caught up in the earthquake but was unharmed, officials said.
“The First Lady... said the car she was riding (in) was swaying,” spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “They are unhurt.”
There was no threat of a tsunami, said the US Geological Survey, which initially reported the magnitude at 6.9.
The Philippines is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.
Three quakes above 6.0 magnitude hit roughly the same area of Mindanao in a matter of weeks in October, killing some two dozen people and heavily damaging office buildings, schools and apartments.
Tens of thousands of people were forced into shelters by the string of tremors, the government said, either because their homes were damaged or they were too afraid to return.
Most of the deaths in October were due to collapsing walls and falling debris, including a teenage boy who was crushed by a falling wall as he tried to escape his school.
Other fatalities were attributed to rock and landslides unleashed by the violent shaking that injured at least 400 people.
The Philippines has been hit by several very powerful earthquakes in recent decades, including one of magnitude 7.8 that struck the northern resort town of Baguio in 1990.
That tremor toppled multi-story buildings and hotels, killing some 1,200 people.


France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

Updated 19 min 46 sec ago

France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

  • Government spokesman says France 'will never renounce its principles and values'
  • Emmanuel Macron has vowed to crack down on extremism after the killing and beheading of a school teacher

PARIS: France will continue its fight against Islamic extremism despite criticism from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and will not give in to “destabilization and intimidation attempts,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday.
France “will never renounce its principles and values,” Attal said after a cabinet meeting, underscoring “a strong European unity” behind its stance against Islamic violence after the beheading of a French teacher on October 16.
The history teacher, Samuel Paty, was killed while walking home from his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old after a social media campaign criticized him for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on free speech.
His killing prompted an outpouring of anger in France, which has faced a wave of jihadist attacks since the January 2015 massacre of 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The paper, which had drawn the ire of Muslims worldwide after publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, republished the images last month to mark the opening of a trial for suspected accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron mounted a staunch defense of France’s secular tradition after Paty’s killing, and vowed to crack down on Islamic radicalism, in particular by closing mosques suspected of fomenting extremist ideas.
That prompted Erdogan to accuse Macron of unfairly targeting France’s Muslim community, and fueled the latest diplomatic spat between the two NATO allies in recent months.
Charlie Hebdo further inflamed Turkish critics Wednesday after it ran a front-page cartoon of Erdogan that portrayed him drinking a beer in his underwear, while lifting the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom.
“Ooh, the prophet!” the character says in a speech bubble, while the title proclaims “Erdogan: in private, he’s very funny.”