MANILA, July 14 (Xinhua) -- At least 51 people were injured and several homes, churches and buildings were damaged when a magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Surigao del Sur province in the southern Philippines early on Saturday morning, said a government disaster agency report late Saturday.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake, which struck at 4:42 a.m. local time, hit at a depth of 5 kilometers, about 9 km southeast of Carrascal town in the northeast coast of Mindanao island.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said at least five towns sustained damage from the tremor.
The disaster agency said at least two churches in the coastal towns of Lanuza and Carmen were damaged along with some houses and buildings. The ceiling of the church in Carmen town reportedly collapsed.
Aside from Lanuza and Carmen towns, the agency said a number of houses, buildings in the towns of Madrid, Cantilan and Carrascal were also damaged.
A police car and a fire truck were pinned under a collapsed building in Madrid town, Liza Mazo, office of civil defense regional director said, adding that a private newly-constructed building also collapsed in Lanuza town. "So far the situation is still manageable," Mazo said.
The institute said the tremor, which was tectonic in origin, was also felt in the cities of Butuan, Tandag and Cagayan de Oro, and Misamis Oriental in the southern Philippines. It was also felt in Cebu City in the central Philippines, the institute added.
The geographic and geologic settings of the Philippine archipelago make it prone to earthquakes. In fact, Phivolcs records an average of 20 earthquakes a day and 100 to 150 earthquakes are felt per year. Most of the tremors are not felt.