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2 dead as 5.1 quake rocks Leyte

Nelita Navales, city health officer, identified one of the victims as Maria Contreras Colasito, 51, of Barangay Naungan. She reportedly died when she fell and banged her head when the earthquake struck. Google Maps

ORMOC CITY, Philippines – Two women died as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake jolted parts of Leyte yesterday and damaged more than 50 houses, officials said.

Nelita Navales, city health officer, identified one of the victims as Maria Contreras Colasito, 51, of Barangay Naungan. She reportedly died when she fell and banged her head when the earthquake struck.

A rescue team member, on the other hand, reported that Rosita Baloro, 70, of Barangay San Jose died after suffering a heart attack as she got frightened during the earthquake.The rescuer said Baloro is considered an “indirect” fatality.

The Bureau of Fire Protection, on the other hand, reported they had to rush 20-year-old Jerelie Mercules from Barangay Punta to hospital after she fell down the stairs.

At a Barangay Milagro evacuation center, Priscilda Serenio was also rushed to hospital after experiencing false labor. She is expecting her fifth child.

On the other hand, classes at all levels here were suspended by city officials after the earthquake hit.

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Science undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum said the tremor happened at 6:26 a.m. with its epicenter traced some five kilometers northeast of Albuera town.

It was reportedly felt by residents of this city and Albuera at Intensity 5, classified by Phivolcs as “strong.”

There was minimal damage reported on vital infrastructure. Engineer Lino Gonzales of the 4th Leyte Engineering District said all roads are passable with no discernible damage to national roads and bridges.

However, 56 houses in Barangay Alta Vista were reported to have suffered cracks ranging from superficial to serious. Councilor Vincent Rama said the barangay hall of Alta Vista was also badly damaged.

It was business as usual at City Hall even if all departments are holding office at the lobby and ground floor. The second and third floors remain unsafe because of collapsed ceilings and exposed electrical wirings.

Phivolcs’ instruments in Leyte recorded the tremor at Intensity 6, which the agency described as “very strong.”

The shaking lasted for about five seconds, Solidum said.

The quake was also felt at Intensity 4 in Pastrana and Intensity 3 in Tacloban City and Palo.

Solidum warned the public of possible aftershocks.

He said the quake, which was generated by a movement along the Leyte fault, could cause slight damage to poorly built structures in areas near the epicenter.

The quake had a depth of five kilometers and was tectonic in origin.

In Albuera, Mayor Rosa Meneses said no injuries or damage was reported after the tremors.

Last July 6, a magnitude 6.5 quake hit the province, killing four persons and injuring more than 400 others. – With Jaime Laude, Helen Flores, Emmanuel Tupas, Miriam Desacada

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