300 families fear aftershocks, opt to stay in evacuation centers—NDRRMCBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—About 300 families have opted to stay in various evacuation centers in two towns of Eastern Samar following the powerful earthquake that occurred near the province last Friday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Sunday.
“Those who remained in evacuation centers still fear for their safety since over 200 aftershocks have been reported since Friday night,” Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said over the phone.
Ramos said the 7.6-magnitude quake sent over 200,000 residents of coastal towns fleeing their homes to seek refuge on higher ground.
He said the evacuees have been staying in public schools, gymnasiums and cockpit arenas in the towns of Guiuan and Mercedes.
“Some of the evacuees even chose to stay on top of trees. They immediately went to high ground even before we issued the alert level 3,” he said.
“But we expect them to return to their homes on Sunday night,” he added.
The NDRRMC said over P1.4 million worth of public and private infrastructure was damaged by the tremblor, which struck 106 kilometers east of Guiuan town in Eastern Samar.
It said the government would need at least P12.5 million to “restore” other damaged roads and bridges in at least three towns of the province.
He said the local engineering office had constructed a detour bridge in San Julian town after the decades-old bridge connecting it to other municipalities was partly destroyed by the quake and was closed to all kinds of vehicles.
“But the stretch of the highway along the 11 coastline towns of Eastern Samar is now cleared and open to traffic,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Ramos advised residents to “remain observant, always on alert and not to be overconfident.”
“While most of the aftershocks were weak, we don’t know if there’s still a strong aftershock coming. They should understand that there’s no scientific gadget to determine exactly when a strong quake would occur,” he said.