SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/22 March) – Last Friday’s 5.9-magnitude quake that hit hard Surigao City and Dinagat Islands only caused minor cracks on the walls of buildings in the city.
Engr. Gil Rufino C. Menor, head of the city engineering office, said of the more than 20 buildings they inspected his team only saw minors cracks that appeared mostly on the walls.
“These are not critical as far as the structural strength of these buildings are concerned,” Menor said.
Menor was with four other engineers who personally inspected the buildings on Saturday upon the instruction of City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas a few hours after the quake.
Among the establishments inspected were Philippine Gateway Hotel, Barton’s Inn, Absolute Essentials and Gaisano Capital.
But he said that the columns of Absolute Essential and Barton’s Inn also had cracks.
He said he already spoke with the management of the two establishments and recommended that they hire a structural engineer to check on the extent of the cracks.
Menor said that though the cracks appeared only on the plastered-finish of the columns and beams of two establishments this does not mean both buildings are categorically safe.
“I also made a suggestion to remove that plastered-finish for us to find out if the damage has reached the columns and beams,” he said.
He said columns and beams are the essentials in the foundation of a building and once these are damaged the building may have lost structural integrity.
In Bisalisa town in Dinagat Islands, 29 houses were damaged due to the strong quake.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the quake’s epicenter was located two kilometers west off Dinagat.
The Dinagat Islands Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said damage to properties was pegged at P 5 million.
Last Friday’s quake also caused a stampede at Gaisano Capital injuring close to a hundred mall goers.
The stampede occurred when thousands of shoppers panicked and hurriedly ran for the main door. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)