Phivolcs records 130 aftershocks; fresh evacuations reported in Davao OrientalInquirer Mindanao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Saturday it had recorded 130 aftershocks since Friday’s 8:47 p.m. 7.6 magnitude earthquake that triggered tsunami warnings over a wide area of the Pacific Ocean.
Desiderio Cabanlit, Phivolcs seismologist in Southern Mindanao, said majority of the aftershocks recorded as of 9:20 a.m. were too faint to be felt but at least 21 of them were quite strong, ranging from magnitude 3.6 to 6.8.
Of the 21 strong aftershocks, Cabanlit said, 14 were traced off Surigao del Norte starting at 9:27 p.m. Friday.
He said aftershocks may continue to occur several days after a major quake and that people should remain on alert.
“Aftershocks can continue to occur for days or even weeks,” he said.
In a statement, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said aftershocks—some strong ones—normally happen after a major earthquake.
He recalled that in February this year, close to a thousand aftershocks were recorded by Phivolcs following the quake that caused substantial damage in Negros Oriental.
In Davao City, where Friday night’s quake was felt at Intensity 5, cracks were reported at the Abreeza Mall in Barangay Bajada.
In Cagayan de Oro City, the local disaster risk reduction management council confirmed the death of Emelita Ubalde, 44, when her house was buried by a landslide in the village of Lapasan. Ubalde’s five-year old grandson, Adrian Rosales, was injured.
In Agusan del Sur, a house burned down in the town of Bunawan when a gas lamp was toppled by the quake but no one was reported, Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde said.
Fresh evacuations were reported in the coastal areas of Davao Oriental due to the strong aftershocks as people feared tsunamis, according to Caraga and Southern Mindanao officials.
Supt. Marcial Magistrado, spokesperson of the Southern Mindanao police, said evacuations were monitored in the panic-stricken towns of Baganga, Boston, Caraga, Cateel, Manay and Tarragona in Davao Oriental.
Lt. Rowena Abayon, information officer of the army’s 67th Infantry Battalion stationed in Davao Oriental, said the evacuations were supervised by local officials.
“Many people panicked and rushed out of their homes during the quake. Others living near the coasts trooped to the town gymnasiums as local government units informed them through public address system to evacuate,” she said.
Abayon said most of the evacuees had trekked home after the tsunami alert was lifted.
In Surigao del Sur, the provincial disaster risk reduction management council said up to 6,000 people had fled to safer ground due to the earlier quake.
The evacuees started to go home around 2 a.m. after the lifting of the tsunami alert, Surigao del Sur council said. Around 80 percent of the province’s towns are located along the coast.
Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel said “everything was going back to normal” in the province although residents remained on alert due to occasional tremors.
Commodore Philip Cacayan of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Command said they were monitoring the situation, especially in coastal areas, even if the tsunami alert had been lifted.
Solidum said even if the tsunami warning had been lifted, Phivolcs continued to monitor the situation. Reports from Orlando Dinoy, Edwin Fernandez, Frinston Lim, Cai Panlilio, Ryan Rosauro, and Dennis Santos, Inquirer Mindanao