Church leaders in the Philippines called for prayers after a strong earthquake hit the southern Philippine region of Mindanao on Oct. 29.
In a broadcast aired over church-run radio Veritas 846, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila prayed for residents of the region affected by the tremor.
He said prayers are important for the safety and stability of the victims of the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck about nine o’clock in the morning.
“We appeal to all of you for prayers for the safety of our brothers and sisters who are affected by the earthquake,” said the Manila prelate.
He also appealed for help for the victims of the quake and for the future rebuilding of the affected structures, including churches.
“If the dioceses and parishes in those areas appeal for help, I hope that you will be open to respond,” said the cardinal.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, near the epicenter of the tremor, reported that residents rushed out of their homes and were afraid to go back inside for fear of aftershocks.
“A lot of structures around us were damage,” said the bishop. “[There was] an up and down and sideways (movement),” he added.
The bishop said at least five churches have been reported to have suffered cracks. Authorities said at least two were killed and scores were injured after a school building collapsed.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the tremor, which was tectonic in origin, struck Tulunan town in Cotabato province at 9:04 in the morning.
It struck nearly two weeks after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit the same area and killed at least six people and injured nearly a hundred others.
Authorities have advised people in affected areas to stay outside of homes and buildings as aftershocks were expected.
Classes and work in government offices in several areas were already suspended.
The presidential palace in Manila announced that it is monitoring the situation in Mindanao.
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.
An earthquake that hit the country in April killed at least 16 people after a building collapsed in the province of Pampanga, north of Manila.