Stampede increases quake injuries, deaths

Natashya Gutierrez
The quake caused a stampede in Pinamungajan town and Toledo City in Cebu, leaving 15 injured and one 4-year-old girl dead

DAMAGED BASILICA. Damage to the Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu City, Philippines is seen after a major 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the region on October 15, 2013. AFP / Chester Baldicanto

MANILA, Philippines – At least 20 are reported dead and scores are injured from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas, including a 4-year-old girl who died from a stampede.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman explained at a press briefing of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) on Tuesday, October 15, that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was conducting payouts of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program in two areas in Cebu when the earthquake hit.

The quake caused a stampede in Pinamungajan town and Toledo City in Cebu, where the DSWD was, leaving 9 and 6 injured respectively. The child who was killed by the stampede was in Pinamungajan.

Soliman said the DSWD has deployed personnel in Region 7 for the distribution of food packs and relief goods, in accordance with an order from President Benigno Aquino III to “deploy assets” and “conduct damage assessment.”

Other government agencies specifically the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Philippine Red Cross, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) have also been directed to do the same.

All agencies said they have deployed equipment and personnel to help those affected by the quake.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa gave assurances the government “is working automatically” and funds to help the affected areas “are always there ready to go.”

Meanwhile, DOH says it received reports of 69 injuries from Tagbilaran City in Cebu, with initial admissions at 30, including 8 deaths on arrival. It said the number of injured being taken to DOH hospitals continue to rise.

Assessing damage

Defense Secertary Voltaire Gazmin said assessment in Cebu is ongoing to determine whether they will declare the province under a state of calamity.

“We have not yet determined the actual damage but assessment is ongoing and until such time we will do the necessary declaration,” he said.

According to Maj Reynaldo Balido Jr, spokesperson of the Office of Civil Defense, Manadue City in Cebu, areas in Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Region 11 have lost electricity following the quake.

Balido also named government buildings that were damaged including Cebu City Hall, the DSWD building in Region 7, and DOTC terminal buildings, in addition to malls and historic churches that also sustained damage.

According to Balido, there have been no reports of people trapped in rubble or buildings so far.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said no signfiicant aftershocks are expected, with the strongest so far having a magnitude of 3.7. He said aftershocks should start decreasing, and said the other fault lines of the country should not be affected by the quake.  – Rappler.com

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