Saturday, July 8, 2017

300 aftershocks rattle Philippines’ quake-hit town

MANILA: Seismologists reported they have recorded about 300 aftershocks as of Friday morning that prompted thousands of  residents to remain “panicky” following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that rumbled through several provinces in Eastern Visayas in Central Philippines.

Officials said the number of casualties remained at two while that of the injured rose to more than 70 people in the temblor that struck at 4:00 pm on Thursday  and was felt strongly in the towns of Kananga and Jaro in Leyte province.

The Kananga municipal council on Friday passed a resolution declaring a state of calamity in the town to enable it to spend its calamity fund representing five per cent of its annual budget to help the victims.

Mayor Rowena Codilla of Kananga said the aftershocks continued to hamper rescue workers to determine whether more people were trapped in a three-storey New Town commercial building that tumbled down when the tremor struck.

Rescuers pulled out 13 trapped people from a collapsed commercial building late on Thursday in the town of Kananga on Leyte island, near the epicentre of the quake, local officials said.

Three provinces in the region remain without power while all schools are closed in Leyte as authorities assess the damage.

“Some residents ran out of their homes when they felt aftershocks. Some had panicked but many stayed calm because we just had an earthquake drill and they know what to do in times of disaster,” Office of Civil Defense regional spokesperson Pebbles Lluz told reporters.

The two fatalities were an 18-year-old woman who was hit by falling debris in Ormoc City in Leyte, while one body was retrieved from the collapsed building in Kananga.

The earthquake also damaged houses and schools, left cracks in highways and caused landslides, authorities said.

Geothermal plants in Leyte, its main source of power, were also hit according to the provincial government.

Local airlines have meanwhile cancelled flights to Ormoc City on Leyte island.

“The centre of the earthquake was in mountainous villages so we will only get a clearer picture of the impact once we reach these areas,” Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the Philippine disaster-monitoring agency, told reporters.

The quake hit at a depth of around six kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said  they continued to assess the situation, pointing out that they have yet to received damage and casualty reports from the mountain “barangay” (villages) affected by the earthquake.

In particular, Mina Marasigan, the NDRRMC spokesman, warned residents to prepare for possible avalanches due to  rainy weather amid reports that the neighboring provinces of Leyte, Samar as well as the Bohol remained without power.

Actor Richard Gomez, the mayor of Ormoc in Leyte, also appealed for immediate asssisance especially for the earthquake victims in the upland villages.

“I thought to myself, this might be my end. It was really strong and perhaps, it lasted for 15 seconds,” Gomez said in Filipino in a radio interview regarding his experience during the earthquake,

Secretary Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesman, also assured the government is deploying all available resources to rescue survivors and return normalcy to the affected areas.

Abella also called on the resilient spirit of the Filipino people to close ranks in the face of the new tragedy as he stressed: “No matter what, we will rise again as we aim for our destined greatness.”

In November 2013, supertyphoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) smashed into Leyte and Samar as well as neighboring provinces in the Visayas  and left behind  a wide trail of death and destruction.

The Philippines belongs to the “Pacific ring of fire” in which earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are a common occurrence.
You may also like:

No comments :

Post a Comment