State of calamity declared in quake-hit Surigao del Sur town | Inquirer News

State of calamity declared in quake-hit Surigao del Sur town

An NDRRMC report says that 12 people were hurt by the 7.4-magnitude quake in Surigao del Sur

FILE PHOTO: This house in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, is among the houses heavily damaged or destroyed by the magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck waters off the municipality on Saturday night, December 2, 2023. Erwin M. Mascariñas

HINATUAN, SURIGAO DEL SUR—The local government here has placed Hinatuan under a state of calamity in the wake of the extensive damage caused to the municipality by the magnitude 7.4 quake that struck off its coasts on Saturday evening, which was felt at Intensity 6 in the locality.

The municipal council presided by Vice Mayor Tito Cañedo III made the declaration in a special session on Sunday, as recommended by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) chaired by Mayor Shem Garay, to “address the immediate needs of the community and lay the groundwork for a comprehensive recovery.”


As of Sunday, the MDRRMO counted 90 destroyed houses and 268 damaged ones, estimated to be valued at around P45 million.


A total of 9,765 families, or 38,302 people, were affected by the quake while those living in the coastal communities were moved to higher or inland grounds on Saturday night to be spared from a possible tsunami in compliance with the advisory from government seismologists.

Although the tsunami warning has been lifted, many families from coastal communities have yet to return to their homes as of Tuesday for fear these could be struck down by the strong aftershocks.

They joined the families who lost their houses to the tremor in the evacuation center in Bituon village. But most built makeshift shelters in the open space while others made do with pitching tents on roadsides as they refused to spend the nights inside their houses.

In nearby Marihatag town, several coastal families also moved to elevated parts of town and built their own makeshift shelters where they could spend the night.

“We dreaded the thought of being trapped to death in our weakened stilt houses when a strong aftershock comes,” Edilberto Cubil, 55, of Marihatag told the Inquirer in the vernacular on Tuesday.

Affected classrooms

Cubil said a school at his town’s center that was damaged by the quake on Saturday was further damaged by Monday’s magnitude 6.8 tremor that struck at 3:49 a.m. off the coasts of Cagwait town.


Pedro Tecson, information officer of the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Caraga region, said their inspectors have initially counted 13 schools with 66 classrooms in Surigao del Sur that were destroyed by the magnitude 7.4 earthquake.

Throughout the five provinces of the region (Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur), some 2,356 schools were affected by the quake, Tecson added.

He said many of the destroyed school buildings give way due to the strong aftershocks, which suggested these could have already been heavily damaged by the main tremor.

Classes in all levels in private and public schools and work in government and private institutions throughout the province were suspended from Monday to Wednesday by Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander Pimentel to give way to building inspections.

The Provincial DRRMO on Monday reported that 57,893 families from 144 villages of the province’s two cities and 17 towns were affected by Saturday’s quake and its aftershocks.

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As of Monday, provincial authorities counted two fatalities in Bislig City and Barobo town, both hit by collapsed walls at the height of Saturday’s temblor. INQ

TAGS: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Surigao del Sur earthquake

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