4 killed, 108 injured in Surigao quake as aftershocks continue

Confined patients at the Miranda Family Hospital in Surigao City opt to stay out in the open field, afraid that the building would collapse. MindaNews photo by Roel N. Catoto

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Feb) – Four people died and 108 were injured in the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that hit this city late evening Friday as about two dozen aftershocks were recorded shortly after the big quake all the way until morning.

Vice Mayor Alfonso Casurra, acting chair of the Joint Provincial and City Risk Reduction Management Council, said this morning the injured are now confined in three hospitals within the city.

The quake damaged the runway of the airport here and all flights to Surigao City have been diverted to neighboring Butuan City, Annette Villaces, of the city government’s Public Information Office, quoted Engr. Junelito Abrazado, Surigao manager of the Civil Aviation Authroity of the Philippines.

The Surigao City Airport was among infrastructure damaged in the magnitude 6.7 earthquake late Friday evening (10 February 2017). All flights have been diverted to neighboring Butuan City. Photo courtesy of Philippine Information Agency – Caraga

Villaces also said on her Facebook page that commercial buildings with major damage have been ordered closed by the city government.

“Classes and work, both in private and public [schools and establishments], are now cancelled per order by the vice chairperson of CDRRMC [City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council] and City Vice Mayor Alfonso Casurra effective immediately until further notice,” she added.

Villaces said that due to damaged and nonpassable bridges along the highway leading to Lipata Bridge for cargo trucks and buses, all vessel and port operations there have been diverted to the Port of Surigao.

The quake, of tectonic origin with epicenter somewhere under the waters of Surigao Strait 14 km northwest of Surigao City, plunged the city into darkness and cut off its water supply, creating havoc in the area.

Fearing a tsunami shortly after, residents went to the streets to find higher ground while patients confined in hospitals, some of them still with intravenous fluids injected on their arms, went out to open ground to avoid being hit by falling debris.

As of this morning, many commercial establishments, Jollibee among them, did not open for business.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported 24 aftershocks since the big quake at 10:03 p.m. Friday, with magnitude ranging from 2.0 to 3.6.

The first aftershock, at magnitude 2.9, came at 11:52 p.m. in the municipality of San Jose in Dinagat Island.

Many more followed either inland or in the waters around Dinagat, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, Southern Leyte and as far as Compostela Valley and Davao Occidental in the South, averaging about five per hour, until it slowed down at one per hour starting 4 a.m.

The latest tremor recorded by PHIVOLCS was at 7:45 a.m. at magnitude 2.5 in the water west of Dinagat Island close to the major quake. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)