Earthquake stronger than ‘The Big One’ possible in N. Cotabato – PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   October 31, 2019   •   972

Earthquake-damaged building in North Cotobato after a magnitude 6.5 temblor struck the province on Thursday, October 31, 2019. (PHOTOVILLE INTERNATIONAL)

MANILA, Philippines – Three consecutive earthquakes with a strength higher than magnitude 6 struck North Cotabato this month.

But the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) believes that a temblor more powerful than the magnitude 7.2 is possible to occur in the area in the future.

Although historically, the strongest shaking recorded in the region was magnitude 7.5 and it was onshore.

In the recent past, Metro Manila has been active in conducting a series of earthquake drills in preparation for the anticipated movement of the 100 kilometers West Valley Fault that traverses several towns in Bulacan, Metro Manila up to Laguna that can generate a magnitude 7.2 earthquake or the so-called The Big One.

“Tandaan, hindi lang sa greater Metro Manila maaaring magkaroon ng The Big One (Note that it is not only in greater Metro Manila that the Big One could occur),” PHIVOLCS Officer-In-Charge Renato Solidum said.

“Posible ring mangyari ito sa ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas dahil sa mga active faults at trenches na makapagdudulot ng malakas na lindol (It could also happen in other cities in the Philippines due to active faults and trenches that could generate strong earthquake),” he added.

On October 29, a magnitude 6.6 quake was experienced in Tulunan town in North Cotabato which was followed by a series of strong aftershocks.

A day after on October 31, the area was again rocked by an equally strong magnitude 6.5 temblor which further caused damage to the structures in the area.

“Tinatawag po namin siyang series of events kasi tuloy-tuloy ang paggalaw niya doon dahil sa marami siyang sources na pwedeng panggalingan, (We call it series of events because the activities are continuous from multiple sources,)” explained Mylene Enriquez, a Science Research Specialist from PHIVOLCS.

According to PHIVOLCS, Central Mindanao, which includes Cotabato, is one of the seismically active regions in the country.

Specifically, the region has five active faults that may cause strong ground shaking.

These are the M’lang Fault, Makilala-Malungon Fault, North Columbio Fault, South Columbio Fault, and the western extension of the Mindanao Fault or the Cotabato-Sindangan Fault.

These faults, PHIVOLCS said, could possibly generate strong earthquakes — stronger than what West Valley Fault could produce.

“Kasi interrelated ang mga faults doon (These faults are interrelated),” Enriquez said.

“Ibig sabihin magkakalapit sila so kung may gumalaw na isa, posibleng maapektuhan yung isa pang katabi niyang system or fault (This means that since they are adjacent to one another, one move affects the others in the system or fault),” she explained.

Also, the Cotabato Trench can also be a major source of earthquakes that can impact the region apart from other nearby local faults that can generate small to strong magnitude temblors.

In 1924, at least four earthquakes with strength ranging from magnitude 5 to 7.5 were recorded in Cotabato.

PHIVOLCS, however, clarified that the earthquake in Cotabato is different from what is expected to occur in Metro Manila in terms of impact and effects as Metro Manila has more structures and is more densely populated than other cities in the country. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Heavy rains, strong winds rip tents at Makilala, Cotabato evacuation sites

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

Villagers rest at a makeshift shelter in the earthquake-hit town of Makilala on Mindanao island, Philippines, 01 November 2019. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

Strong winds and heavy rains destroyed several makeshift tents at two evacuation centers where some of the evacuees in Makilala, North Cotabato are staying following the recent earthquakes that hit Mindanao.

According to a CNEWS report by Raymond Octobre on Tuesday, evacuees endured thunderstorms on Monday afternoon while staying in their temporary shelters in Makilala Central Elementary School.

A cellphone video taken by one of the evacuees showed makeshift tents being destroyed and pulled apart by strong winds and heavy rains coupled with ice pellets.

At the Santos Land evacuation center in Poblacion, Makilala, several tents erected using tarpaulin and bamboo wood were also ripped apart by heavy rains that lasted for almost an hour.

Sheryl Orbita, acting Municipal Administrator of Makilala, assured no one was injured while an individual was brought to a hospital after falling unconscious.

Orbita added that evacuees affected by the heavy rains have been given assistance.

More than 50 families from the Santos Land evacuation center were also transferred to a temporary shelter in Makilala National High School while around 100 other families opted to remain in the area.

“Dinalhan naman din sila ng pagkain doon na luto na tsaka mga damit kasi nabasa yung iba may mga damit doon sa nililipatan nila,” Orbita said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that as of November 12, there are 20 evacuation centers catering to more than 4,700 families in Makilala.

Overall, there are 69 evacuation centers serving a total of 53,612 quake-hit families in Davao and Soccsksargen regions. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Raymond Octobre)

Infant dies of severe dehydration in quake-hit Makilala, Cotabato

Robie de Guzman   •   November 7, 2019

An aerial shot taken with a drone shows makeshift shelters at an evacuation center in the earthquake-hit town of Makilala on Mindanao island, Philippines, 01 November 2019. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – A six-month-old infant died due to severe dehydration in Makilala town, Cotabato which was among the areas heavily-hit by earthquakes that jolted Mindanao last month.

According to Sheryl Orbita, acting municipal administrator of Makilala, the baby and her family were staying in a makeshift tent outside their home in Barangay Bulatukan due to aftershocks.

She said the baby had recurring fever and rashes on the body when a volunteer doctor visited their place on Sunday.

“Noong Sunday, nag-request na po yung grandmother ng doctor. Pinuntahan po iyan doon noong Sunday, ang inireklamo po is rashes binigyan naman yun ng gamot,” Orbita said.

But the baby’s condition worsened and was rushed to a hospital on Tuesday. Attending physicians declared the infant dead.

“Noong Martes lang po siya binawian ng buhay dahil po sa dehydration, doon lang po sa bahay nila,” Orbita said.

To prevent a similar incident, local authorities advised parents to immediately seek medical help when their relatives, especially children, feel sick or are manifesting symptoms of illness.

The number of people who died in Makilala, Cotabato due to recent quakes in Mindanao now stands at eight following the death of the infant.  

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) said that more than a thousand quake victims were provided with free medical help and consultation following reports on the rising number of evacuees who have fallen ill in Makilala.

There are enough relief goods for all quake victims in the town but evacuees are complaining of the heat and cramped situation of families in tents at evacuation centers, on top of the trauma brought about by the recent tremors.

The local government has appealed for more understanding and assured it is now taking action to decongest evacuation centers.

“Alam namin na ‘yun ang nangyayari sa mga evacuation camps… Kaunting tiis lang po kasi ang LGU ng Makilala ay naghahanap na po ng paraan,” Orbita said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

Earthquake damage, losses in Mindanao agriculture reach P13M

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has noted the extent of damage that the recent earthquakes have caused to agriculture in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

Based on its latest report, the DA said damage and losses in earthquake-affected areas have already increased to P13.33 million from the initial P4.55 million.

The increase in the amount is attributed to the additional structural damage in Davao del Sur.

Among those damaged were several agricultural facilities, irrigation systems, and office buildings.

The DA assured that its regional offices are having an on-going physical inspection of the affected areas to further estimate the cost of damage and losses incurred.

Meanwhile, relief support has been continuously distributed to affected residents through the DA’s collaboration with concerned government agencies and non-governmental organizations. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)


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