MANILA (Updated) -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday that no Filipino was affected by the strong earthquake that hit Sabah, Malaysia.
"We have not received reports of any Filipino affected by earthquake in Malaysia," Charles Jose, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a text message.
A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck northwest of Ranau district in Sabah early Friday, injuring 11 climbers and leaving about 200 people stranded.
At least one was also reported dead and 89 more were missing in Mount Kinabalu because the trekking path was impassable.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers with its epicenter located 19 kilometers from the town of Ranau and 54 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
Sabah Parks director Jamili Nais said two climbers who were injured on the 4,095-meter peak have been brought down. Nine more people are believed to be injured among the 137 stranded on the mountain, he said.
Their climbing route is apparently blocked or made dangerous by rocks and boulders loosened by the quake and small aftershocks, he said. Some of the stranded climbers are foreign, but it wasn't clear how many.
Jamili said helicopters can't land due to bad weather and the high altitude, but park rangers and mountain guides are trying to help down the climbers.
Although Malaysia sits outside the Ring of Fire, belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean, it is still prone to earthquakes.
Ranau has experienced several weak quakes in recent years. The meteorological department said Sabah has several active fault lines that result in occasional earthquakes.
State Tourism Minister Masidi Manjun said people from nearby villages joined the rescue team to try and reach the climbers.
He tweeted that the strong tremor had damaged climbers' huts and facilities on the mountain, and broke one of the twin rock formations famously known as the "Donkey's Ears" on the mountain.
In a later tweet, he confirmed all the stranded climbers were progressing cautiously toward a midway point on the climbing route called Laban Rata.
Jamili said the rescuers hoped to help all the stranded climbers at least reach that area before nightfall. Laban Rata is a usual resting point for climbers trying to scale the summit and has food available.
Thousands of Filipinos call Sabah their home since it is less than a two-hour boat ride from major Mindanao provinces like Sulu.
Most of the Filipinos there were undocumented, particularly those believing Sabah belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu.
Manila has a dormant claim on Sabah while Malaysia has administrative control of the resource-rich island. (CVB/With AP/Sunnex)