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Manila, Nov 18: The death toll in the Philippines from a 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck several areas of the island of Mindanao has reached seven, the Philippine newspaper Inquirer reported on Saturday, citing the country’s Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

The powerful earthquake hit the southern Philippines on Friday. Although authorities initially reported a magnitude of 7.2, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology later downgraded the quake to a magnitude of 6.8 and warned of possible aftershocks. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) further downgraded the magnitude to 6.7. The earthquake caused power outages in several towns and damaged many school buildings and homes. Media reported that a couple was crushed to death by a concrete wall in General Santos City, initially raising the death toll to two.

Later on Friday, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that he had instructed government agencies to provide immediate relief to earthquake victims in Mindanao.

The Philippines lies in a seismically active zone known as the Ring of Fire and is frequently hit by powerful earthquakes. The archipelago lies along the boundary between the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate, which collide and increase seismic activity in the area.