SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/17 March) — Twenty-five houses in Basilisa, Dinagat Islands province were destroyed, four of them totally, during a magnitude 5.9 earthquake at around 3:58 p.m. Friday, the provincial information officer reported.
Quoting reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), Rosario Roxas, Dinagat Islands information officer said four houses were totally damaged in Barangay Roxas in Basilisa town while 20 others were partially damaged in the same barangay, sending 43 families to the evacuation center.
The quake, whose epicenter was two kilometers west of Dinagat Island, was felt at Intensity 6 in Surigao City; Intensity 5 in Basilisa, Dinagat Islands; General Luna in Siargao, Surigao del Norte and San Ricardo in Southern Leyte; Intensity 4 in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur and Tandag City, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said.
Roxas said a village multi-purpose hall and the wharf were also partially damaged.
Five other houses were partially damaged – one in Barangay Rizal and four in Barnagay Imee in Basilisa town.
Roxas added that cracks approximately five meters long were observed along the national highway, between the boundary of Libjo and Basilisa towns but the road remains passable.
She said most of the houses that were damaged were not as sturdy as they were built using sea-sand mixed with cement.
The Provincial Capitol building in San Jose town suffered two minor cracks, she said, adding
computers and cabinets fell due to the tremor. “Good thing no one was seriously hurt in the capitol,” she said.
In Surigao City, hospitals were packed with shoppers injured during a stampede in a downtown mall.
The stampede occurred when shoppers ran for the main exit of Gaisano Capital, leaving about a hundred injured.
The National DRRMC reported 45 persons injured, five of them admitted in the hospitals.
“Daghan natamakan kay nagpanic man dayon,” said mall-goer Jimbee Rama (many were trampled upon due to panic).
Thirty-five persons were rushed to the Caraga Regional Hospital while about a dozen were rushed to the Miranda Hospital and Surigao Medical Center.
Most of them, however, suffered only minor injuries – cuts, bruises, contusions – as people pushed and shoved each other.
Thousands were inside the Gaisano mall Friday to watch a performance by celebrities from Manila.
Manuel Kong, a member of City Disaster Risk Reduction of Management Council, said at least three persons were seriously hurt and are confined in three hospitals in the city.
“Some were sent home after being treated in the hospitals,” Kong said.
Kong said he could not say how many buildings in the city and province were damaged.
He said Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas warned against using the Surigao del Norte Provincial Gymnasium because suspension cables fell, hurting three teachers who were then attending the installation of the President of the Surigao State College and Technology.
Ralph Rowan, head of the Quick Action Response Team, said a number of persons no longer proceeded to the hospital for treatment but went home to do self-medication.
Surigao City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas has asked the City Engineering Office to conduct an assessment and inspection of buildings to check on their structural integrity. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)