Quake death toll rises to 7, Surigao now under state of calamity

The strong quake damaged roads, bridge and other infrastructure in Surigao City and neighboring areas, including this portion of the national highway in Barangay Rizal. MindaNews photo by Roel Catoto

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Feb) – Death toll due to the magnitude 6.7 earthquake late evening Friday rose to seven while those injured likewise rose to 120, according to the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC).

This as the Sangguniang Panlungsod declared on Saturday the city to be under a state of calamity due to the “untold damages in the city to real and personal properties.”

The CDRRMC has no names of the fatalities but the Office of the Civil Defense, in an update issued 3 p.m. Saturday, reported six deaths so far, all from Surigao City.

The victims were identified as Roberto Eludo, 40; JM Ariar, 4; Wilson Lito, 35; Lorenzo Deguino, 85; Roda Justina Taganahan, 83; and Wenefreda Aragon Bernal, 66. All died because they were hit by falling debris or collapsing walls, except Taganahan who died of a heart attack in the middle of the chaos.

The OCD-Caraga Regional Director Rosauro Arnel Gonzales Jr. reported that there is total blackout in the municipalities of San Francisco and Malimono in Surigao del Norte and partial power failure in Surigao City.

Vice Mayor Alfonso S. Casurra told MindaNews that after initial assessment this morning, the CDRMMC endorsed the declaration of a state of calamity to the city council, who promptly issued a resolution.

“The unexpected and sudden tremor had literally caused untold damages in the city to real and personal properties, not to mention death of 7 persons and injuries to 120 individuals and the numbers is still increasing,” said the SP’s resolution number 23-2017.

The city continues to have no potable water coming from its taps, forcing residents to join the long queue in water refilling stations.

Engr. Benjamin Ensomo Jr., general manager of Surigao City Metropolitan Water District, said in a text message late afternoon Saturday that they intend to supply at least 50 percent of the city’s water supply by midnight.

The earthquake rendered impassable the Anao-aon Bridge in San Francisco municipality.

It also damaged the runway of the airport here, forcing airline companies to divert flights to neighboring Butuan City, according to a report by Engr. Junelito Abrazado, Surigao manager of the Civil Aviation Authroity of the Philippines.

Classes and work in private and public schools and offices were likewise ordered cancelled by the CDRRMC, according to Annette Villaces of the city’s Public Information Office.

“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. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)