Mindanao quake families evacuated, building ordered closed
KIDAPAWAN CITY—Authorities have evacuated 757 families at the foot of Mt. Apo in Barangay Ilomavis here after a 97-meter ground fissure formed underneath their houses as a result of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck nearby Tulunan town, Cotabato province, on Wednesday evening.
According to Psalmer Bernalte, city disaster risk reduction and management officer, the families were temporarily housed in the village covered courts as a preventive measure in case of secondary tremors.
As of Friday noon, at least 300 aftershocks were reported by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
Wednesday’s quake wrought massive damage in areas lying within its epicenter like Kidapawan as well as in other towns in the Soccsksargen region.
In Digos City in Davao del Sur province, while small and old buildings remained largely intact, big and relatively new structures such as malls and schools bore the brunt of the quake that rocked areas of Mindanao.
On Friday, Digos City Mayor Josef Cagas ordered at least nine establishments, mostly malls and department stores, to secure clearance from the city government after they were found to have incurred severe or minor damages that could pose as a hazard to residents.
Cagas required the establishments to secure clearance from the city first before they would be allowed to continue to operate.
Among the establishments, Cor Jesu College reported having one of its school buildings totally wrecked by the quake.
Practically all major malls and department stores in the city had been cordoned off, leaving only the public market, Central Convenience and small stores open.
Gaisano Grand Mall on Quezon Avenue here also incurred severe cracks on its grocery counters’ floor tiles, walling, beam plastering, glass doors and partitions.
Cagas also ordered the closure of the Gaisano Mall of Digos, Gaisano Grand Mall, the department store Novo, Unitop, Unicity, Puregold and Market Place and the Central Warehouse Club until they could secure clearance from the city.
An updated report by the city disaster risk reduction and management council submitted to the provincial governor included seven more establishments not included in the mayor’s list.
These were Gaisano Center, 3F Happy Shoppers, Social Security System building, BDO Aurora, BPI Quezon Avenue, LYR Building and Panadero Bakery.
State of calamity
According to the Office of Civil Defense in Region 12, the tremor affected 5,000 people throughout the region, damaging 200 houses and over 40 public facilities such as schools and hospitals.
In Makilala, Cotabato, the local council placed the entire town under a state of calamity due to the extent of the damage. Makilala Vice Mayor Ryan Tabanay said a town council resolution was approved to pave the way for the use of calamity funds to help affected residents.
Makilala sits near the epicenter of the tremor where at least 63 houses were damaged and 24 people were injured, according to the town’s disaster management officials.
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