CABANUANGAN, Valencia City (MindaNews/10 November) – The earthquake on Monday night may have rendered homeless many residents here. But Charmaigne Grace Aringo could not forget the quake for a different reason: she gave birth to a baby girl minutes after the tremor.
“When the quake occurred I was so full of fear. I wanted to scream hard. But I was speechless,” Aringo recalled.
She did scream however shortly after the quake due to birthing pains. Thankful that at least her baby came out well despite her fears, she said she would name her “Lyndell” after “lindol” the Tagalog word for quake.
But for Fabio Concha and other residents the quake only caused fear and awe at one of nature’s most destructive forces.
Concha saved only 200 of the 5,000 heads in his seven fish ponds mostly of tilapia, catfish, and prawn. The cracks swallowed up the water and fish in the ponds, and the fish that remained on the surface died from loss of oxygen. He only found the dead fish stocks when he got to the farm later in the night. The quake occurred early evening.
“I tried to save much of it but it was too late,” Concha said as he worked on repairing the ponds the day after.
Concha was also one of the 90 residents who lost their houses to the 5.2 magnitude tremor.
The next day, the City Agriculture Office (CAO) reported that even the 200 fish left in Concha’s ponds had died too.
Nora Esteban, CAO supervising agriculturist, said the city government’s five-pond hatchery adjacent to Concha’s and the fish ponds of three of their recipients were not spared by the quake, considered by city officials as the worst that had hit them for years.
Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata told MindaNews that Cabanuangan or Purok 18 was the area worst hit in the city.
As of Wednesday, 21 concrete houses were found totally damaged, and 70 others partially damaged.
Engr. Stephen Noveno said most of those houses used substandard materials, like smaller steel bars to connect hollow blocks.
The quake also left the newly constructed Sto. Rosario Chapel in Cabanuangan with cracks in its pavements including those in the elevated part of the altar.
The teachers at the nearby 250-pupil Cabanuangan Elementary School lamented the damage in the school. By 2p.m. Tuesday the rooms were empty as classes were suspended owing to rumors sent through text messages that another quake would happen.
Teacher Naomi Ara showed the 1.25-meter diameter hole in the upper part of the front wall in the Grade III classroom.
“It was too strong that it left cracks in most of the classrooms. We don’t know if we can still hold classes inside,” she added.
She admitted that the quake took its toll among the children. She cited the Alculars, whose children used to study in the school.
The family’s house in Purok 20 was destroyed.
“It was so sudden, there was no time to run,” said Analie Alcular, mother of three, who was preparing dinner when the quake occurred.
She saw her three children hurt by the debris as the walls and columns collapsed. They vacated the house and stayed outside in the rain for 30 minutes before relatives were able to bring them to a hospital.
Worst injured was Hannah, 8. She was squatting on the floor playing jackstone when the earth shook. She sustained a closed fracture in the right thigh bone. Doctors said she had to be operated and possibly installed with steel support.
Her nine-year old brother, Charles, was wounded in the forehead and had a blood clot in the left eye. He was advised to undergo computed tomography (CT) scan in Malaybalay City after experiencing seizures and vomiting.
Davencliede, 12, also sustained a wound in the right side of his head.
Even with the wreck, the children, Analie said, already wanted to go home fearing another quake.
Epifania Cagampang, a neighbor of the Alculars, said she had a hard time breaking the news to his son-in-law who was in Gingoog City when the quake hit. Two walls of his house collapsed.
“The quake was a destroyer. We were helpless at the instant. We can’t beat nature,” she said.
In Purok 17, Elisa Balaba, a widow with four children, was traumatized. She rushed to save one of her four children from a falling door while they were eating dinner. With multiple injuries from her back down to her foot, she managed to get medical attention only Tuesday afternoon.
“It caught us by surprise. I had to attend to my children first,” she said.
Rubble filled their house from the fallen concrete divider and an adjacent wall.
There were others who were just grateful for escaping danger.
Nanay Villarosa, also of Purok 17, showed to the assessment team from the city government her rice pot deformed by debris along with the damage in her house. She said they were blessed that the quake killed no one.
Her neighbor, Dodong, wanted inspectors to check his wooden house even it was not damaged. Others had to run after the team because their houses were supposedly excluded. One more resident thought the team would hand aid right after the assessment.
Meanwhile, Catarata has proposed a relocation of the residents in selected villages saying these are possibly located along a fault line.
But he admitted he needed the official assessment of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
The quake left cracks in portions of commercial buildings, hospitals, and even government buildings in the city proper. The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center still could not release estimates of losses to structures.
The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office as of Tuesday estimated about 1,100 persons were directly affected by the quake.
Fourteen of the 31 persons injured were confined in hospitals.
Juanita Javier, city social welfare and development officer, said the city and provincial governments are prepared in terms of funds.
“But we lacked personnel and mobility to validate quickly the damage and the needs of those affected before we could release official assistance,” she said.
The provincial board of Bukidnon, on motion of board member Ranulfo Pepito from Valencia City, has asked Phivolcs officials in Region 10 to explain to the board the cause of the quake.
Pepito said a quake of the same magnitude occurred inValencia about 40 years ago.
“What happened now? Why has it returned” he asked.
A quake of similar intensity occurred in Valencia in the 1970s, one Manang Linda recalled. She said the dogs barked as people tried to walk out of their houses to flee danger. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)