Terrified residents camp out as aftershocks persist
MANILA (UPDATE) — Authorities in Magsaysay, Davao Del Sur declared a state of calamity on Friday after a powerful quake flattened houses to the ground and left 3 dead, local officials said.
Wednesday night's magnitude 6.3 quake, which was felt across Mindanao, destroyed some 200 houses in Magsaysay and opened cracks in schools and the town hall, said public information officer Anthony Allada.
The cost of damage to Magsaysay's infrastructure was around P200 million, according to an initial estimate by the local government.
A state of calamity will allow officials to tap emergency funds.
The local government will prioritize allocating funds for the food and basic needs of evacuees, and the repair of 204 destroyed houses and 1,400 others that were "partially and slightly" damaged, said Magsasay Mayor Arthur Davin.
The quake left 3 dead and 20 injured in the province, said Allada.
Many residents were still camping out on roads and evacuation centers as aftershocks continued to rock the town, he said.
"Sa ngayon po hindi pa rin natin masabing okay iyong mga tao namin dito kasi feel na feel pa rin namin ang hilo at iyong trauma dahil hindi pa rin tumigil iyong na-experience naming mga aftershock," said Allada.
(For now, we still can't say that our people are okay because we still feel dizziness and trauma as the aftershocks have not stopped.)
The tectonic quake's epicenter was located in neighboring Tulunan, North Cotabato, where the tremor left 2 commercial buildings, a birthing center, shrine and barangay hall "unfit for occupancy," said the province's disaster office head Mercedita Foronda.
The quake, she said, also damaged a hospital in neighboring M'lang town, prompting the evacuation of patients in a gymnasium.
An M'lang resident was killed in the quake, while 36 people were injured across the province, said Foronda.
Despite this, many residents have returned to "business as usual," she said.
"Pagkatapos ng lindol, iyong mga walang sira-sira, business as usual po tayo. Iyon lang ina-assess talaga iyong mga vulnerable sector: iyong mga nasa hospital, mga senior citizen," Foronda said in a separate DZMM interview.
(After the quake, establishments that were not damaged have returned to business as usual. We are just assessing the vulnerable sector, including those in hospitals and senior citizens.)
Aftershocks could be strong and capable of causing severe damage, said Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines' seismic agency.
"Some [aftershocks] can be felt most likely in low intensities. But we cannot remove the possibility of similar intensities that can be felt in the epicentral area," he said.
The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes. With a report from Reuters