Initial Surigao quake damage reaches P665.7-M

Bobby Lagsa

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Initial Surigao quake damage reaches P665.7-M
Maryjul Escalante, Surigao del Norte provincial information officer, expects 'the figure could rise' as updates become available

SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Surigao del Norte on Monday, February 13, released its initial damage assessment following the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that occurred on Friday.

Maryjul Escalante, Surigao del Norte provincial information officer, said that based on the report submitted by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the total damage caused by the quake and its aftershocks reached P665.720 million.

“We are expecting that the figure could rise as more updates are being received now,” Escalante said.

Escalante also said governor Sol Matugas ordered all provincial government employees to support the recovery efforts.

On Monday, all department heads of the province held office at the grand hall “So that all can work together and whatever is needing approvals from the budget offier to the treasurer can be done in the same place,”Escalante said.

Surigao City remains the most affected in the province with 7 reported deaths.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) identified the fatalities as Robert Eludo, JM Ariar, Lito Wilson, Lorenzo Deguino, Roda Justina Taganahan, Jenelyn Ebale and Rommel Tano.

Wenefreda Aragon Bernal is the lone fatality outside of Surigao city. (READ: Surigao quake toll now at 8)

All of the fatalities suffered from blunt force trauma to the head with the exception of Taganahan who suffered a heart attack during the quake.

The provincial government listed 550 families or 2,750 individuals as affected by the earthquake.

MEDICAL SERVICES. Surigao del Norte Provincial Health staff attend to residents affected by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Preventing diseases, getting clean drinking water

Provincial health officer Dr. Maria Isabel Makinano said they are preventing the spread of diseases. “We know that post disaster, there is always a rise in diseases especially water-borne like diarrhea” and the like, Dr. Makinano said.

Dr. Makinano added the lack of a water supply remains the biggest challenge they are facing.

The Surigao Metropolitan Water District reported a damaged pipelines worth 1.7 million pesos.

Dr. Makinano said that they are also needing portalets, tents, mobile water purification systems, and water tankers.

“We badly needed mobile water purification system that can convert water into safe drinking water,” Dr. Makinano said.

The provincial capitol – where hundreds of resident are seeking shelters at night – don’t have running water/ “Even though we opened all our toilets to the evacuees, there is not running water and that could lead to diseases,” Dr. Makinano said.

Dr. Makinano also added that they are in need of Hyposol tablets and Sodium Hydrochloride waterine solution to decontaminate drinking water.

The Provincial Health Office also started its medical consultations and medicine distribution to the affected residents.

Dr. Makinano said that while they have medicines for common diseases and multivitamins, they have yet to distribute hygiene kits and water containers to the displaced.

Dr. Makinano also said she is working closely with epidemiologist Dr. Dave Mendoza from the Department of Health in Region 10 along with Cagayan de Oro’s Emergency Medical Service.

Provincial Social Services Officer Arlene Tongco said that they are also in need of psychosocial and trauma counsellors to debrief the affected residents.

Tongco said that they only have 1 person trained in psychosocial stress debriefing and they have asked the regional DSWD in Butuan City for further help.

With regard to food relief assistance, Tongo said they have distributed to victims in both the province and the city.

“In the morning, the evacuees are just small, some of them are working, but at night, there can be hundreds of them here,” Tongco said.

Tongco added they have distributed 150 relief food packs on Saturday and is expected to distribute 300 on Monday. “We also have hot porridge for the displaced every morning,” Tongco said further.

In Surigao city, the government listed 20% of its population as affected which led to the declaration of a State of Calamity. Surigao City has a population of 154,000 as of its 2015 census.

Most the city has power restored but water remains a problem. City Information Office Annette Villaces said that portions of the city is still without water supply, and even hotels do not have a stable water supply.

Water distribution remains to be key in providing supply, but the lack of water tankers and the immense number of households without water is huge challenge.

SURIGAO CITY BY AIR. A bird's-eye view of Surigao City as seen from the East. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

The epicenter

Villaces and City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) officials, together with Rappler and other media, flew to Barangay Talisay, Nonoc Island, the epicenter of the quake on Monday afternoon.

The barangay suffered little to no damage, contrary to what officials were expecting.

Teacher Ermilinda Ytac shared that the shaking was scary but there was no damage to the houses in the barangay.

The old wooden stilt house of teacher Shahani Pearl Duero, meanwhile, collapsed on Sunday after a series of aftershocks. Duero was quick to point out, however, that their house was made of light material.

Concrete houses in the island were left unscathed, the roads have little signs of cracks, unlike the mainland.

Vic Sapinit, Human Resource Officer of Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc., based in Nonoc Island, shared they had no idea the epicenter of the quake was the island itself.

“We felt the ground shake, it was like the sound of a rolling thunder, only that the thunder is underground, it was very scary,” Sapinit said.

Villaces said that they are making sure that the residents in the island are being taken care of, “But as it is, there is no sign of damages, the opposite of what we are expecting.”

Villaces said that data is being updated and all commercial and public buildings damaged by the quake will be assessed. Classes in all levels remain suspended until further notice. –

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