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51 injured as shallow earthquake rocks southern Philippines

51 injured as shallow earthquake rocks southern Philippines

Manila– Fifty-one people were injured and several homes, churches and other buildingsdamaged on Saturday when an earthquake sent terrified residents of the southernPhilippines fleeing their homes before dawn, police said.

The 5.8-magnitude shallow quakestruck the northeast coast of Mindanao island at 04:42, with the Philippineseismology office recording seven less intense aftershocks.

Officers at the police station inMadrid town, near the epicentre, ducked beneath tables as the glass door of afiling cabinet splintered and a television set fell to the floor and shattered,police chief Lieutenant Wilson Uanite said.

"We saw people running outof their homes. A number of residences sustained minor damage like crackedwalls," Uanite told AFP by telephone.

Patients were also evacuatedbriefly at the Madrid District Hospital, which sustained cracks on its concretewalls, he added.

The roof of an old car park inMadrid collapsed, causing slight damage to the town's two fire trucks and threecars, Uanite said.

Restaurant tipped into river

The impact was also felt in fourneighbouring towns, damaging homes, two Catholic churches, a hotel, a gym, abridge and a public market, while toppled power pylons blocked a key road, thecivil defence office in the region said.

A restaurant tipped over into anearby river in Cantilan town, while residents reported broken plates and glassand ceramic decorative figurines in their homes, police officer Johannes Tipontold AFP by telephone.

In Cantilan, masonry from aconstruction site fell through the roof of a neighbouring house, injuring a girland her father as they slept, Tipon added.

The US Geological Service saidSaturday's quake occurred at a depth of 11.8km.

The Philippines is part of thePacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity thatstretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacificbasin.

The country's most recent deadlyquake occurred in April, when at least 11 people were killed and a supermarketcollapsed in a 6.3-magnitude tremor that hit a region north of the capitalManila.

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