Surigao del Sur jolted anew by strong quake

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Surigao del Sur jolted anew by strong quake
This photo shows an aftermath of the Magnitude 7.4 quake in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
Hinatuan Local Government Unit / Released

MANILA, Philippines — A magnitude 6.8 earthquake jolted Surigao del Sur after a destructive magnitude 7.4 temblor rocked the province Saturday night, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The magnitude 6.8 quake occurred at 3:49 a.m. yesterday with its epicenter located 67 kilometers north of Cagwait town and a depth of focus of one kilometer.

In a radio interview, Phivolcs director Teresito Bacolcol said that the magnitude 6.8 quake was different from the magnitude 7.4 one as the latter’s epicenter was in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

“For the magnitude 6.8 this (yesterday) morning, we issued an advisory that there was no tsunami threat,” Bacolcol said.

Phivolcs said intensity 5 was felt in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur; intensity 4 in Tarragona, Davao Oriental and Tandag City, Surigao del Sur and intensity 3 in Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City and Banaybanay, Lupon and Mati City, Davao Oriental.

Instrumental intensity 4 was recorded in Abuyog, Leyte; Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental; Nabunturan, Davao de Oro; Surigao City, Surigao del Norte and Bislig City and Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

Instrumental intensity 3 was recorded in Quinapondan, Eastern Samar; Dulag, Hilongos, Kananga and Mahaplag, Leyte; Sogod, Southern Leyte; Libona, Malaybalay City and San Fernando, Bukidnon; Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental; Cagayan de Oro City; Digos City, Davao del Sur; Davao City; Malungon, Sarangani; Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.

Instrumental intensity 2 was recorded in Argao and Danao City, Cebu; Can-avid, Eastern Samar; Alangalang, Albuera, Burauen, Carigara, Javier, Leyte and Palo, Leyte; Ormoc City; Catbalogan City, Samar; Malitbog and San Juan, Southern Leyte; Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte; Kadingilan and Maramag, Bukidnon; Initao, Misamis Oriental; Magsaysay and Matanao, Davao del Sur; Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental; Kidapawan City, Magpet and President Roxas, Cotabato; Alabel, Sarangani; Tampakan and Tupi, Southern Cotabato and General Santos City.

Instrumental intensity 1 was recorded in Talibon, Bohol; Asturias and Talisay City, Cebu; Naval, Biliran; Calubian, Isabel and Villaba, Leyte; Rosario, Northern Samar; Basey and Villareal, Samar; Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte; Molave, Zamboanga del Sur; Banisilan and Carmen, Cotabato; Glan, Kiamba and Malapatan, Sarangani; Norala, Polomolok, Santo Niño, Surallah and T’Boli, South Cotabato and Lambayong and President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat.

Phivolcs said that as of 1 p.m. yesterday, the magnitude 6.8 quake has generated 190 aftershocks, including the magnitude 5.7 one that occurred at 10:37 a.m. while the magnitude 7.4 quake had already generated 1,898 aftershocks, of which at least 19 were felt and 355 were plotted.

The magnitude of the aftershocks ranged between 1.4 and 6.6, according to the agency.

At the same time, Bacolcol said that at least 20 earthquakes occur in the country every day.

“We have six active trenches and we have 175 active faults. There is always this probability that earthquakes happen at the same time and, in fact, Phivolcs records at least 20 earthquakes, mostly mild. From time to time, we have strong quakes. Again, we are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, we expect these (earthquakes) as we have active faults, we have many active volcanoes,” he added.

The Phivolcs chief noted that active faults and trenches nationwide are capable of generating light to moderate to major earthquakes.

On the other hand, he warned that at least 33,000 people would die in case a magnitude 7.2 earthquake would rock Metro Manila.

“The earthquakes in other parts of the country have no connection with the ‘Big One,’ although we are saying that we are ripe for the ‘Big One’ as we are within the range of the reoccurrence of the magnitude 7.2,” Bacolcol said.

He estimated that the casualties in case a big one occurs in the National Capital Region would reach at least 50,000 if those from nearby provinces are included.

“Because of the dense population, residential buildings that will be heavily damaged will be around 13 percent for the 10-story building, around 11 percent will be heavily damaged and mid-rise buildings, around two percent will be heavily damaged,” Bacolcol said.

Classes suspended

Meanwhile, face-to-face classes have been suspended in various localities in Southern and Eastern Mindanao for quake damage assessment after the magnitude 7.4 temblor over the weekend which was followed by more than 1,000 aftershocks since Saturday night.

The Department of Education (DepEd), however, clarified that only face-to-face classes are suspended and that schools concerned are required to resort to blended schemes such as modular or virtual.

“In light of the declared class suspensions by some local government units (LGUs) due to the recent earthquake, the DepEd wishes to clarify that only face-to-face classes are suspended. Learning will still continue as schools, both public and private, are required to immediately shift to alternative learning modality, like the modular or online schemes, etc.,” the agency said in a statement yesterday.

Davao City schools have also suspended their classes, as well as Mati City and towns in Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, among others.

Residents in these areas have been warned to watch out as evacuation plans have also been laid in case of emergency.

In a related development, Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian flew to Surigao del Sur yesterday to get a first-hand assessment of the damage caused by the magnitude 7.4 earthquake.

“In line with the directive of President Marcos, we assure Gov. Alexander Pimentel, all LGUs of Surigao del Sur and all the families affected by the earthquake that you will receive all the necessary assistance from the DSWD,” he told local leaders during the coordination meeting.

Marcos gave specific instructions that the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Interior and Local Government (DILG) should “collaborate” with concerned LGUs “to provide essential aid to those in need.”

The coordination meeting was held at the Surigao del Sur provincial capitol in Tandag City.

Marcos specifically ordered Gatchalian to continue providing assistance to the families that have been affected by the impact and aftermath of the earthquake.

The situation briefing was attended by the 17 municipal mayors and two city mayors of Surigao del Sur and by DSWD officials, including Undersecretary for disaster response and management Dianne Cajipe and Field Office Caraga Regional Director Mari Flor Dollaga.

Shortly after the magnitude 7.4 earthquake, the DSWD Field Office Caraga immediately activated its quick response team to render assistance to some 100 families whose houses were damaged by the temblor.

The 100 families were given temporary shelter at the Bitoon Elementary School in Hinatuan where they received family food packs last Sunday.

The DSWD Caraga office has been closely monitoring and conducting assessments in the earthquake-affected municipalities of Hinatuan, Bislig, Lingig, Barobo, Tagbina and Tandag City.

Reports from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said that around 746 houses were totally damaged while 141 were partially damaged, with total damage cost of over P88 million.

The OCD also reported that 529 families representing 2,647 people were affected by the earthquake. – Edith Regalado, Delon Porcalla

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