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MANILA, Philippines – A magnitude 7 earthquake struck the island of Luzon in the morning of Wednesday, July 27.
Here’s what we know so far.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) initially pegged the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.3, and reported that it had occurred at 8:43 am. Phivolcs later downgraded the quake to magnitude 7.
The earthquake’s epicenter was recorded in the northern province of Abra, with residents experiencing Intensity VII – classified as “destructive” under the agency’s intensity scale. It had a depth of 17 kilometers, based on Phivolcs’ latest update.
The quake was felt in other parts of Luzon. Phivolcs reported the following intensities:
- Intensity VII – Bucloc and Manabo, Abra
- Intensity VI – Vigan City, Sinait, Bantay, San Esteban, Ilocos Sur; Laoac, Pangasinan; Baguio City
- Intensity V – Magsingal and San Juan, Ilocos Sur; Alaminos City and Labrador, Pangasinan; Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya; Mexico, Pampanga; Concepcion and Tarlac City, Tarlac; City of Manila; Malabon City
- Intensity IV – Marikina City; Quezon City; Pasig City; Valenzuela City; Tabuk City, Kalinga; Bautista and Malasiqui, Pangasinan; Bayombong and Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya; Guiguinto, Obando, and San Rafael, Bulacan; San Mateo, Rizal
- Intensity III – Bolinao, Pangasinan; Bulakan, Bulacan; Tanay, Rizal
- Intensity II – General Trias City, Cavite; Santa Rosa City, Laguna
Phivolcs reported that aftershocks are to be expected, but not tsunamis.
“Nasa lupa ang fault, so hindi niya mapapaangat ang seafloor sa ocean para magdulot ng life-threatening tsunami (The fault runs through land, so it cannot raise the seafloor in the ocean to cause life-threatening tsunami),” Phivolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) gave the following damage reports at around 10 am:
- Abra – With damage, ongoing coordination
- Vigan, Ilocos Sur – With damage, ongoing coordination
- Bantay, Ilocos Sur – With damage, ongoing coordination
- Metro Manila – No reported damage
- Calabarzon – Earthquake felt, ongoing coordination
By 10:15 am, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson ordered forced evacuation for all residents of barangays throughout the province.
The Abra public information office reported several major roads in different municipalities of Abra destroyed by the earthquake. Landslides were reported in three major roads in the municipality of Bucloc, while Poblacion-Sakkawwa-Wayangan road in the municipality of Tubo is not passable to four-wheel drive vehicles also due to a landslide.
Only one lane is passable along the Abra-Ilocos Sur National Road in the municipality of San Quintin. The road suffered heavy damage and the public has been advised to refrain from traversing it.
The Abra PIO also reported that the Operations Center Building in La Paz was badly damaged by the earthquake.
Lican-Baay MDRRM Council reported that he following roads are not passable due to landslides: Baquero-Quirsodan Road, Singit-Poblacion Road, Kasalalan-Sucao Road, Bituen-Lacub Road, Baquero-Poblacion Road, Abra-Kalinga Road.
Citing Abra Vice Governor Jocelyn Valera-Bernos, Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said that at least 70 houses were damaged in the province, along with 20 government buildings, and three bridges.
The Vigan Cathedral and Spanish heritage houses along Calle Crisologo were also damaged.
Senator Imee Marcos said the quake destroyed antique bell towers in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, and Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, as well as several churches and heritage houses in the northern Luzon provinces.
Highways like Kennon Road and Ilocos Norte-Apayao Road were also affected by the earthquake. Marcos said electrical transformers and lines were also damaged, leaving parts of northern Luzon with no power.
Meanwhile, power and signal interruptions were reported in Benguet, according to the NDRRMC. Phivolcs said there were damaged structures in Mountain Province.
According to the Mountain Province public information office, the Mountain Province Electric Cooperative (MOPRECO) reported that Tinglayan, Kalinga, and parts of Cervantes and Quirino in Ilocos Sur have no power. MOPRECO advised that power would be restored depending on the assessment of the Ba-ang and Pegeo substations that were affected by the earthquake.
By around noon, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in Ilocos Region raised a red alert status throughout the region.
In Badoc, Ilocos Norte, the RORO port of Pagsanahan Sur reported that the earthquake caused fissures up to 5 meters in length.
Several structures in Badoc were also reported to be damaged by the earthquake: a colonial building collapsed in Barangay Alogoog, the old convent of St. John the Baptist Minor Basilica suffered damage, and the facade of the 178 shopping center had cracks.
As of 3:20 pm, the Nueva Era-Abra Road was passable but pass
ersby were advised to take precaution while traversing the road.
As of 3:44 pm, the Ilocos Norte provincial government, citing the provincial DRRMC, announced that the province’s side of the Ilocos Norte-Abra Road was passable to all kinds of vehicles.
As of 5 pm, the alert level status of the Provincial Operation Center in Mountain Province was placed on red status, along with the municipalities of Barlig, Besao, Sagada, Sabangan and Tadian. Three health care facilities were reported partially damaged: Besao Health Centre, Bauko RHU1 and Bauko RHU2, and Saclit Barangay Health Station.
The NDRRMC confirmed at least one death in La Trinidad, Benguet, as of 2 pm, due to the earthquake.
As of 5 pm, the Mountain Province Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) reported a total of 11 injured.
Initial reports from the deployed Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) teams showed that surveyed national and provincial buildings sustained minor cracks with no major findings detrimental to the structural integrity of these buildings.
As of 6 pm, the Abra provincial government said the number of municipalities isolated because of landslides increased from four to six: Luba, Malibcong, Boliney, Bucloc, Daguioman, and Lacub.
The bridges of Agtangao, Calaba and San Antonio bridges in Bangued and Lagangilang remained closed.
According to MDRRMOs and the Abra Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), the following roads remained closed as of 6 pm:
- Licuan-Baay (Abra-Kalinga Road)
- Manabo (Sto. Tomas Barangay)
- San Isidro (Nayon ng Olo)
- San Quintin (1 lane passable)
- Tineg (Vira-Madegnak; Vira-Apao)
As of 7 pm, the police reported the following casualties due to the earthquake:
- Jonalyn Bilan Siganay, 23 years old, in Bangued, Abra
- Jefferson Basar , 24 years old, in Balbalan, Kalinga
- Resty Emperador Tavas, 32 years old in Tuba, Benguet
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that it had a ready stockpile of at least 24,247 family food packs for distribution in affected northern provinces.
DSWD Secretary Tulfo went to Abra to assess the situation. In a Facebook post, Tulfo said the DSWD had released an initial P10 million in cash for those affected by the earthquake.
Tulfo added that more than 10,000 food packs were on their way from the Cordillera Administrative Region warehouse, which would arrive by the afternoon. Additional cash assistance would also be sent in the morning of Thursday, July 28.
China has said it is ready to provide assistance to the Philippines.
Work and classes were suspended in the following areas:
- Abra – all government offices and schools
- Ilocos Sur – government offices
- Baguio City – public and private offices, establishments
- Benguet – work and classes
- Mountain Province – public and private offices, establishments
- La Union – all government offices and schools
- Dagupan City – work suspended in government offices, schools urged to suspend
- Vigan City – indefinite suspension of classes/work in public and private sectors
Water supply will be scarce in the following areas:
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said Northern Luzon airports are still operating as usual, with no damage to their facilities.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued a statement on Wednesday, vowing swift earthquake response.
“Sa kabila ng nakalulungkot na mga ulat tungkol sa pinsalang dulot ng lindol, ating sinisigurado ang maagap na pagtugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang apektado ng sakunang ito (In light of the saddening reports about the damage caused by the earthquake, we will ensure a swift response to the needs of our countrymen affected by this crisis),” Marcos said.
Click here to view Rappler’s page with live updates on the Wednesday earthquake. – with reports from Michelle Abad, Lorenz Pasion, Inday Espina-Varona, Dwight de Leon, Mara Cepeda, Sherwin de Vera, Ahikam Pasion/Rappler.com