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Powerful earthquake in Philippines causes ceilings to fall at malls

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  • PHILIPPINE RED CROSS VIA AP
                                In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, volunteers attend to people affected by an earthquake that struck General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines on Friday Nov. 17. A powerful undersea earthquake has shaken the southern Philippines. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake measured magnitude 6.7 and was located 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Burias at the southern tip of the Philippines.

    PHILIPPINE RED CROSS VIA AP

    In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, volunteers attend to people affected by an earthquake that struck General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines on Friday Nov. 17. A powerful undersea earthquake has shaken the southern Philippines. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake measured magnitude 6.7 and was located 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Burias at the southern tip of the Philippines.

  • SHAIRA ANN SANDIGAN / AP
                                A security guard walks beside the damaged ceiling of a shopping mall in General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines on Friday Nov. 17. A powerful undersea earthquake has shaken the southern Philippines. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake measured magnitude 6.7 and was located 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Burias at the southern tip of the Philippines.

    SHAIRA ANN SANDIGAN / AP

    A security guard walks beside the damaged ceiling of a shopping mall in General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines on Friday Nov. 17. A powerful undersea earthquake has shaken the southern Philippines. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake measured magnitude 6.7 and was located 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Burias at the southern tip of the Philippines.

MANILA, Philippines >> A powerful undersea earthquake shook the southern Philippines on Friday, causing ceilings in shopping malls to plunge to the ground as shoppers screamed. No tsunami warning was in effect.

The Office of Civil Defense said it was investigating a report of one death.

Gregorio Narajos, 34, was getting ready to eat at the SM City General Santos mall when the quake hit Friday afternoon.

“We went under the table, we can’t do any thing else,” he told The Associated Press. “People started running downstairs. We were scared because there might be a stampede, then the lights when off, the earthquake was so strong. People were screaming and shouting, ‘Oh my God!’ We just started praying.”

The magnitude 6.7 quake was located 26 kilometers (16 miles) from Burias at the southern tip of the Philippines, the United States Geological Survey said. It was centered at a depth of 78 kilometers (48 miles), it said.

Videos posted on social media showed ceilings falling at two large malls as pillars swayed and people cowered and shouted in fear. The SM City General Santos mall and Robinsons GenSan mall announced temporary closures. There were no reports of injuries there. Photos also showed a collapsed roof at a school.

The presidential palace said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. instructed government agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone affected by the quake.

The Philippines experiences regular earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of seismic faults around the ocean.

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