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Quake toll now 158; 3.4M people affected

KD Suarez
(UPDATED) More than 3.4 million people, all in Central Visayas, have been affected by Tuesday's magnitude 7.2 tremor; aftershocks continue to rattle region

FOUR-LETTER WORD. A 'Help' sign is seen while Filipino children play outside their makeshift tents in rice fields drive following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Calape, Bohol, Philippines, 16 October 2013. EPA/Dennis Sabangan

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The death toll from Tuesday’s (October 15) magnitude 7.2 earthquake is now at 158, with the number expected to rise as rescuers and relief workers reach some of the isolated towns hardest hit by the disaster.

Of the total number of casualties, 146 people killed were reported in Bohol, where the epicenter of the earthquake was located. Cebu reported 11 people dead, while Siquijor’s tally remains unchanged at one.

A total of 374 people have been injured in the quake: 188 in Bohol, 182 in Cebu, 3 in Siquijor and one in Negros Oriental. Twenty-one people are still missing.

A total of 3,406,227 people in 3 Central Visayas provinces have been affected by the earthquake, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in its noon press conference. This translates to 671,957 families.

Seventy-two evacuation centers currently shelter 65,274 people (12,976 families), all of them in the province of Bohol. On the other hand 14,113 people, or 2,848 families, are currently receiving relief services but are outside evacuation centers, all of them also in Bohol.

The number of reported damaged homes rose to 18,265 across Bohol and Cebu. This, the NDRRMC said , was due to the additional reports coming from parts that were being reached by rescue and relief personnel.

In Bohol, the quake ripped apart bridges, tore down centuries-old churches, and triggered landslides that engulfed entire homes. 

Estimates for the cost of damaged roads, bridges and flood control infrastructure are at P75.15 million. Of this, P57.5 million is the cost of damage in Bohol. Cost of damage in Cebu is at P17.65 million. 

FOR QUAKE VICTIMS. Philippine Coast Guard personnel load sacks of relief goods at a port in Manila, Philippines, 16 October 2013. EPA/Francis Malasig

The extensive damage, particularly in Bohol, means that relief and rescue efforts are hampered.

As of Wednesday evening, October 16, power supply in Bohol has been 75% restored, with the local electricity provider aiming for 100% restoration in 2 to 3 days.

More aftershocks

Aftershocks continue to rattle the region, with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recording a total of 1,213 aftershocks; 24 of those were actually strong enough to be felt.

Classes have been suspended in Cebu, Bohol, and the cities of Dumaguete, Tagbilaran and Cebu throughout the week, and will resume Monday, October 21.

Cebu and Bohol are currently under state of calamity, declared by their respective local governments hours after the quake.

On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino III visited the two worst-hit provinces, to assess the damage and oversee relief and rescue efforts.

Aquino said lessons from the quake should be used to aim for zero casualty in future disasters.

“That has to be the ultimate objective: how, where can we further fine tune our systems and all the procedures attendant to minimizing risks during disasters? The end goal will be zero casualties,” he said.

In addition, Aquino assured the local government that the national government is “ready to assist,” and that “necessary funds” are available. –

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