Philippines quake damage
© Jaypee Catalan via Reuters
A damaged local town hall is seen in Mabini, Davao Del Sur, Philippines after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck October 29, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Tuesday, geologists said, injuring people and damaging buildings while sending terrified locals fleeing into the streets as schools and offices opened for the day.

The shallow tremor hit the island of Mindanao in the same region where a deadly quake struck earlier this month, the US Geological Survey said, adding there was no tsunami threat.

The quake hit near the town of Kisante, less than 100km from Davao City, the hometown of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and one of the most populated cities in the country. It was about 50km deep.

"Our municipal hall has been destroyed," said Reuel Limbungan, mayor of Tulunan, a town near the epicentre.

"We are receiving lots of reports of injuries, but we have to confirm them," he said.

Rescue teams have begun fanning out to assess the damage to the region, where electricity and phone services were knocked out by the power of the quake.

"It is possible to have other aftershocks which could add to the damage. People should stay outside for now," said Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines' seismology institute.

The US Geological Survey said the initial quake was followed by a number of smaller shakes, including one of 5.8 magnitude.

The continuing tremors were causing anxiety on the ground, with people refusing to go back inside buildings for fear of being caught in any resulting collapse. Schools across the area have been closed as a precaution. Davao City mayor Sara Duterte suspended school classes to allow authorities to inspect buildings for possible damage.

The area is still suffering the effects of a 6.4-magnitude quake that hit less than two weeks ago, killing at least five people and damaging dozens of buildings.

Residents fled homes across the Mindanao region and a mall caught fire in the city of General Santos soon after the quake struck on October 16.

The Philippines is part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

One of the deadliest quakes to hit the Philippines recently was in April, provoking the collapse of a building near the capital Manila.

At least 16 people were killed when the building pancaked in the worst-hit Pampanga province.

High-rise structures in the capital swayed after the April quake, leaving some with large cracks in their walls.

Thousands of travellers were stranded after aviation authorities shut down the secondary Clark Airport, which is located on the site of the former US military installation that lies about an hour's drive north of the capital.

In July, two earthquakes hours apart struck a group of sparsely populated islands in the Luzon Strait in the northern Philippines, killing eight people.

A magnitude 7.7 quake killed nearly 2,000 people in the northern Philippines in 1990.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse