Strong aftershocks were recorded in the Philippines after a 6.8 earthquake on the island of Mindanao which killed a child and damaged buildings and caused several injuries.

It was the latest in a series of tremors to strike the southern part of the country in recent months.

Several strong aftershocks hit after the main tremor, the strongest a magnitude 5.7 centered north of General Santos City.

The magnitude 6.8 quake on Sunday was centred 61 km southwest of Davao on the island of Mindanao, at a depth of 28.2 km, the US Geological Survey said.

Vincent Fernandez, the mayor of Matanao town in Davao del Sur province, near the epicenter, told Radio DZMM that a six-year-old girl had died after a wall collapsed on her.

Fernandez said the extent of the damage was not yet clear but authorities needed food, water and tarpaulins and blankets to help residents.

Rescuers at a damaged building after a 6.8 earthquake in Davao.

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Rescuers at a damaged building after a 6.8 earthquake in Davao. Photo: AFP

Anthony Allada, public information officer of nearby Magsaysay Town, said 14 people were injured but none seriously. Roads and buildings, including the local government office, were damaged and power was out in the town, he said.

The region was shaken by four powerful quakes in October and November, which together killed at least 20 people.

“We don’t know what to do anymore. Do we respond first or attend to our families first?”, Allada told Radio DZMM.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao, was in the city when the quake struck.

“He is ok. He and his daughter Kitty were in their house when the quake struck,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “First Lady Honeylet was on her way home when the ground trembled. She said her car was swaying. She is unhurt.”

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A three-story building collapsed in the town of Padada, in Davao del Sur, the local disaster agency reported. Authorities said some people were inside the building, which housed a grocery market, and a rescue effort was underway.

“I saw the building when it fell,” Leighton Angcan, a resident of Padada told Reuters. It was the tallest here and it was really destroyed. I saw people running outside.”

Video footage posted by users on Twitter showed overhead electrical wires swaying and erupting in a shower of sparks. Another video showed water sloshing out of a hotel swimming pool.

The Philippines sits on the geologically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” and experiences frequent tremors.

– Reuters