Death toll in quake-hit areas climbs to 9

DAVAO. A security guard walks beside the damaged ceiling of a shopping mall in General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines on Friday, November 17, 2023.
DAVAO. A security guard walks beside the damaged ceiling of a shopping mall in General Santos City, South Cotabato, southern Philippines on Friday, November 17, 2023.AP

THE death toll following the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that hit Davao Occidental has increased to nine, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Monday, November 20, 2023.

In a situational report, the NDRRMC said eight of the reported fatalities, which are still for validation, were from Soccsksargen while one was from Davao.

It said 15 individuals -- 11 from Soccsksargen and four from Davao region -- were injured.

The disaster bureau said a total of 2,489 families of 12,885 persons were affected by the earthquake, which hit the waters off south of Sarangani in Davao Occidental.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has provided a total of P11,612,558.07 million worth of assistance to the affected population.

The NDRRMC said several road sections in Tboli and Tampakan South Cotabato were not passible due to the damage brought about by the earthquake.

It also reported that the number of houses totally wrecked due to the jolt increased to 97 while 729 were damaged.

A total of 118 infrastructures also incurred damage due to the earthquake, including school and government buildings and facilities.

On Sunday, November 19, 2023, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. virtually met with concerned government officials and ordered them to continue relief operations to the affected families.

“You seem to have -- be well in hand. Let’s just be vigilant. Let’s keep watching. We must pay attention to aftershocks because sometimes maraming nagiging casualty sa aftershock,” Marcos told the government officials, including Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa, DSWD Undersecretary Edu Punay and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno.

Marcos directed them to ensure the safety of the residents in earthquake-stricken areas especially amid the spread of “fake news” regarding a supposed tsunami.

“Actually, that’s a valid concern pagka lindol … if there is going to be any movement from the sea, it would have happened already kasi hindi naman malayo. Napakalapit ng epicenter,” he said.

“But anyway, about aftershocks, let’s just keep watching. Let’s keep waiting. Let’s not pull our people just yet until mag-subside ‘yan para makasiguro tayo na walang ma-injure o mamatay,” he added.

Marcos is currently in Hawaii, the last leg of his week-long official visit in the United States.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology earlier said no destructive tsunami threat exists based on available sea-level data following the earthquake. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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