Masbate quake forces hospital evacuation
LEGAZPI CITY—Around 200 people had to be awakened and evacuated from a hospital in Masbate City early Thursday when a magnitude 6 earthquake and succeeding aftershocks rocked Masbate province.
The patients at Masbate Provincial Hospital and their watchers were moved by medical staff to five tents set up outside.
Gremil Alexis Naz, spokesperson for the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol, said authorities noted cracks in the hospital building based on their initial monitoring,
The power supply was also down in the entire province of Masbate, including Ticao Island, on Thursday morning, while several government buildings were damaged, particularly the Magallanes Coliseum in Masbate City.
“So far, the hardest hit by the quake was Masbate City, [but] no casualties were reported,” Jessar Adonardo, operations officer of OCD Bicol, told the Inquirer in a chat message.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the earthquake struck at 2:10 a.m., with the epicenter at 10 kilometers southwest of Batuan town.
The quake was felt at Intensity VII in Masbate City; Intensity V in Dimasalang, San Fernando and Uson, all in Masbate province; Intensity IV in Legazpi in Albay, Aroroy, Cataingan, Esperanza, Milagros and Pio V. Corpuz in Masbate; Irosin and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon province; and Intensity III in Daraga, Albay.
Earlier on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m., the province was also jolted by a magnitude 5 earthquake. Phivolcs said the epicenter was at 11 km northwest of Dimasalang, Masbate.
According to Phivolcs’ Earthquake Information page, 100 aftershocks were recorded as of 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Masbate City Mayor Socrates Tuason ordered the suspension of classes and work in government offices following the earthquake.
Isaias Bigol, Jr., chief of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Masbate, said in a phone interview that most residents preferred to stay outdoors since Thursday morning due to fear of string aftershocks.
Wall cracks were seen in government and business establishments in the city center following an inspection.
“But these were just minor wall cracks in buildings, not that significant that need retrofitting before allowing people to occupy,” Bigol said.
Damage assessments were also being done in different towns in Masbate.
In San Fernando town, the municipal disaster risk reduction and management office reported that a house was damaged by the quake. Cracks in buildings were also monitored in Dimasalang town.
Vice Gov. Olga Kho told the Inquirer in a text message that “lots of cracks in buildings and schools [were seen], the ceilings and roofs were also detached after the jolt.”
In Metro Manila, Marlouie Sulima, head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Social Marketing Service, said their reports indicated that no families were displaced by the earthquake.
He said the DSWD Bicol’s social welfare and development and quick response teams would assist local governments in assessing damage.
The DSWD regional office, Sulima said, has P5 million in standby fund that can be used as augmentation should local officials request additional aid from the government.
A total of 28,384 family food packs and 51,540 nonfood items are ready for distribution “as the need arises,” he added.