Quake’s tab: P1.4 million

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Sunday, September 2, 2012


CEBU CITY – About P1.42 million worth of property, mostly in Surigao del Norte and Eastern Samar, were damaged when the 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck last Friday night.

Cebu and Central Visayas were spared from serious damage, according to reports sent to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

In Eastern Samar, however, the San Pedro Quinapundan bridge was slightly tilted, while cracks were spotted in four other bridges, a congressman reported.

“The situation’s back to normal here although half of the province has no electricity,” said Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone on Saturday in a text message.

A public market in San Isidro, Surigao del Norte was declared “not safe for regular operations” after six of its columns were damaged. A house burned down in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur when a gas lamp fell during the quake.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda rushed to the NDRRMC office to make sure vulnerable provinces make the necessary preparations.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte appealed to the public to have their homes and offices’ structural integrity checked and to stage earthquake drills.

“Do we have the family protocols in place if this kind of situation occurs? Do the members of the family know what to do in case of a strong earthquake? We are always advocating that preparedness also starts at home,” she said.

State volcanologists recorded 153 aftershocks as of 8 a.m. Saturday, a report from the NDRRMC stated. It quoted the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

“We expect aftershocks if there are significant events such as this,” said Phivolcs Mactan chief Robinson Jorgio.

One of the strongest was a magnitude six aftershock at 7:36 a.m. near Burgos, Surigao del Norte.

Last February 6, a magnitude 6.9 quake struck Tayasan in Negros Oriental, causing damage to property, landslides and sinkholes in different parts of the region.

The quake that struck the Samar coast late Friday killed one person, collapsed houses and knocked out power in several towns.

Elenita Ubalde, 44, was killed in her home in Barangay Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City, after she was buried alive by a landslide that the quake had triggered. She was declared dead on arrival at a hospital while her grandson, Adrian Rosales, 5, required treatment.

In a text message Saturday afternoon, Congressman Evardone reported that several damaged bridges in Eastern Samar are not passable.

Road cracks were also reported in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte but all roads and bridges in the province are passable.

The earthquake, according to Phivolcs, struck 112 kilometers southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, but the US Geological Survey also located the quake’s epicenter at 94 kms. east of Sulangan, Eastern Samar; 161 kms. east southeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar; and 174 kms. northeast of Surigao.

Power was also cut in Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte and in the province of Eastern Samar as of 11 a.m., the NDRRMC said.

Valte said the government activated regional offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure immediate response once LGUs make requests for assistance.

On the part of government, Valte said the Department of Public Works and Highways started assessing the structural integrity of government buildings after a strong quake hit Japan.

Local government units, she added, have been instructed to check the buildings in their jurisdiction to make sure they are prepared once a huge earthquake hits. (BAP/With Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Kathrina Alvarez/SDR)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 02, 2012.

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