Surigao quake death toll now at 8

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Feb) – The death toll in the magnitude 6.7 earthquake has risen to eight people, with those injured likewise rising to 203, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Ramon A. Gotinga, assistant provincial administrator and officer-in-charge of PDRRMO-Surigao del Norte, said seven of the fatalities were from Surigao City: Robert Eludo, 40; JM Ariar, 4; Lito Wilson, 35; Lorenzo Deguino, 85; Roda Justina Taganaham, 83; Jenelyn Ebale, 5; Rommel Tano, 17. The eighth victim was from the neighboring town of San Francisco in Surigao del Norte: Wenedreda Aragon, 66.

Gotinga said most of the victims had blunt trauma and severe head injuries, apparently hit by falling debris, while one suffered from heart attack at the height of the quake.

Eighteen of the injured are still confined in three hospitals in Surigao City, nine referred to different hospitals outside Surigao City while 176 were treated as outpatients.

Six of the victims who perished received cash assistance from President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit Sunday.

Duterte promised to allot P2 billion for rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure in the area.

In San Francisco town (formerly known as Anao-aon) in Surigao del Norte, 13 houses were totally damaged while 147 houses more sustained partial damage.

Anao-aon Bridge in this town has collapsed and is no longer passable, but authorities have arranged a detour through Barangay Diaz.

The walls of the municipal hall, as well as that of the evacuation center, have cracks.

In the municipality of Sison, 4 houses were razed to the ground while 28 others were partially damaged.

In Surigao City, commercial establishments and government buildings have sustained damage. Among them are Gaisano Capital, St. Paul University Hospital, Surigao State College of Technology, Absolute Essentials, JEC Pension House, Saint Jude Thaddeus Institute of Technology, Parkway Hotel, and Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative Inc.

Gotinga said damage to government infrastructure – including bridges, roads and buildings – was estimated at P562 million.

The runway of the Surigao Airport sustained cracks and was closed to airlines, the flights diverted to Butuan City instead.

City residents are still having a hard time with the water supply. Although the Surigao Metropolitan Water District (SMWD) claimed they have already restored 90 percent of supply, MindaNews saw a lot of establishments and households still without water.

Many residents have relied on wells and springs with the city while some got rations offered by fire trucks of the Bureau of Fire in the Philippines, the Filipino-Chinese Fire Brigade and from different mining companies.

Engr. Benjamin R. Ensomo Jr., general manager of SMWD said many of its pipelines were broken.

City information officer Annette Villaces said the local government has declared no classes starting today for both public and private schools in all levels until further notice as building officials will have to inspect integrity of the school building.

Several other buildings in the city have been ordered closed while still to be inspected.

“City engineers will check the structural integrity of the buildings,” Villaces said. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)