Masbate quake creates sea sinkhole, P24 million in infrastructure damage

Significant damage was found in the aftermath of a 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Caitangan town, Masbate on Tuesday morning, August 18.

During an aerial survey by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) shortly after the quake, a sea sinkhole was discovered in Barangay Kasabangan, Pio V. Corpus, as well as liquefaction – when the soil loses its strength and stiffness due to shaking – in Barangay Matayum, Caitangan.

A landslide was also reported in Pio V. Corpus.

Structures destroyed

The OCD reported initial damage worth P23,960,000 to roads, bridges, and other government infrastructure in Masbate, with figures expected to rise.

Among the structures damaged in Caitangan are the Public Attorney's Office, the municipal public market, the municipal police station, and the docking area of Caitangan port.

The road leading to Nabangig Bridge in Palanas was also damaged and there are cracks in the roads of several affected towns.

At least 19 schools from the municipalities of Batuan, Caitangan, Dimasalang, Palanas, Pio V. Corpus, and Placer were destroyed. Houses also suffered damage – 22 in Palanas, and one each in Caitangan and Pio V. Corpus.

Still, all roads and bridges across the Masbate mainland have remained passable to vehicles, according to Masbate Police Director Col. Joriz Cantoria.

1 death

The quake led to one casualty, according to Claudio Yucot, OCD regional director and chair of Bicol's Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Retired Police Col. Gilbert Sauro, 63, was hit by a concrete beam inside his residence in Barangay Concepcion, Caitangan when the quake occurred. His body had to be retrieved from the rubble of his home.

According to Yucot, 48 persons were also injured.

The earthquake coincided with the 8th death anniversary of former Interior Secretary Jessie Robredo, whose plane crashed some 25 kilometers from the quake's epicenter.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has counted 46 aftershocks since Tuesday morning. –