296 earthquakes hit Southern Mindanao in 3 days

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DAVAO CITY— Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has registered 296 earthquakes and aftershocks, and still counting since October 17, until 9 o’clock in the morning, Saturday October 19, 2019.

The Phivolcs registered 17 strong movements, which ranged from 3.1 to 6.3.

The October 17 earthquake has claimed  eight (8) lives, dozens wounded, displaced over a thousand families and costs billions of property losses.

The local government units in affected areas immediately ordered the suspension of classes in all levels in both public and private schools as authorities conducted assessment and evaluation of structures, buildings and schools.

In Davao del Sur, the municipal hall of Magsaysay was damaged and  been temporarily closed as structural engineers has yet to submit the evaluation they conducted last Saturday, according to Mayor Arthur Davin. The building of Cor Jesu College was also severely damaged.

In North Cotabato,  the town halls of  Makilala, Tulunan, along with hundreds of houses and school buildings were also damaged; the municipal halls are closed until now.

In Tulunan town, the epicenter of the October 16 quake, classes, and work at offices have also been temporarily suspended until further notice.

Tulunan Mayor Pip Pedregoza Limbungan said that the local government is also considering the declaration of a state of calamity. “We are just awaiting the completion of assessment and evaluation of the damages brought by the tragedy before we would decide,” Limbungan said.

Limbungan said that the initial assessment showed that the village hall was damaged, including the village day-care center, birthing center, and a chapel. “At least 60 homes were destroyed in the village, no water and no electricity to date,” Limbungan added.

Mercy Foronda, North Cotabato provincial disaster risk reduction and management council action officer, said that at least 60 homes were damaged and partially damaged in Makilala, while about 70 residential homes and local government structures were destroyed. In Tulunan, four persons were reported hurt.

In Kidapawan City, patients of a six-story hospital remained at the city gymnasium due to continuous aftershocks. In M’lang town, portions of the Sangguniang Bayan session hall have collapsed. 

In General Santos City, cost on damages was estimated to have reached billions as big part of SM Mall  and KCC Mall Veranza collapsed,  while Gaisano mall   was on fire hours after the quake.

Part of the ceiling of the SM Mall and the KCC Mall Veranza collapsed during the quake but both establishments reopened by Thursday noon.

Meanwhile, Rivera said that the fire at the Gaisano Mall here was extinguished for the second time at about 10:20 in the afternoon of Thursday, four hours after it reignited.

GenSan City Mayor Ronnel Rivera declared local school buildings and classrooms as safe for the resumption of classes Friday. Although minor cracks were found at the stairs of the City Hall building and the City Agriculture Office’s training center, which is undergoing retrofitting.

ONE of the damaged house in North Cotabato.-dxND facebook page

In Davao City, residents along coastal areas scampered for safety after nitizens read a social media post of a possible tsunami.

The Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio immediately advised the people to stay calm as they denied of any tsunami alert.

The earthquake and aftershocks have reportedly caused trauma among residents specially those in   the  municipalities of Tulunan and Makilala in  North Cotabato and in  Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur.

Brenda Pangan, a resident of Kisante Makilala in an interview with Radyo Bida Kidapawan said that she shivers every time the ground moves “modagan gyud, mahadlok na gyud basin ma-unsa (I run because of fear).”

Undersecretary Renato Solidum  said that the recent earthquakes  should be a wake-up call to local government units to take earthquake drills seriously.

In an interview with ABS-CBN Solidum stressed as saying,  ”Wake-up call ito sa mga LGU na hindi pinapansin ang mga earthquake drill kasi maliban po sa main island ng Palawan na malayo sa earthquake generator, lahat po ng lugar sa Pilipinas ay malapit sa earthquake generator or fault na pwedeng maapektuhan ng lindol.”

Solidum emphasized national simultaneous drills are meant to orient LGUs on what to do during an event of a big earthquake.

Solidum however did not reveal when his agency procured an accurate weather and earthquake equipment that can accurately foretell when a disaster is coming.-Editha Z. Caduaya

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