DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /15 April) — “Oh my God, another aftershock and it’s raining cats and dogs, even inside the parish church is soaked, how much more for people sleeping in improvised tents?” Fr. Flordelito “Yrap” Nazareno, parish priest of Wao in Lanao del Sur said in a text message to MindaNews at 10:07 p.m. on Good Friday, April 14.
For the third night since the magnitude 6 quake struck at 5:21 a.m. on April 12 (it registered Intensity VII in Wao and in neighboring Kalilangan town in Bukidnon), a number of residents in quake-affected barangays have been sleeping in makeshift tents on the roadside and school grounds.
“It’s just too much for people with so limited resources,” Nazareno said, adding that because of the continuing aftershocks, “many people are beginning to display signs of being traumatized by nighttime.”
The April 12 quake triggered a series of aftershocks including a magnitude 5.3 quake that jolted the already traumatized residents at 4:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 13 (Intensity VI in Kalilangan, V in Wao and Valencia City in Bukidnon) and on Good Friday, April 14, magnitude 4.5 at 7:20 p.m. (Intensity V in Wao, IV in Kalilangan) and magnitude 4 at 10:02 p.m. (Intensity III in Wao).
Nazareno said several families have been camping out at night, on school grounds or the roadside despite the rains on Thursday and Friday. Some were forced to spend the night in roofed portions of their houses that appear to be “safe.”
Late Wednesday afternoon in Wao, MindaNews saw a family pitching tent on the ground of the Serran Elementary School in Barangay Serran. Sixty-five year old Annie Sayson said they prefer to spend the night outsider rather than inside their houses.
They were joined by other neighbors that night and the succeeding nights.
According to Nazareno, residents in the predominantly Catholic town “prefer to stay in the vicinity of their homes or the closest possible place sa ilang balay kay naa pa pod silay mga butang, hayop nga di pwede biyaan” (to their houses because they have things and animals they cannot leave behind).
Nazareno said grassroots leaders in the affected barangays told him their number one need are tents for temporary shelter at night especially because of the rains, rice and relief goods “kay dili pa makatrabaho sa uma, kay gapadayon pa ang aftershocks” (because they still cannot work because of the continuing aftershocks,” and water because since the quake, water coming out of the faucets has remained brownish.
Nazareno said he was informed that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) came Thursday to distribute food packs and bottled water.
He said residents are still awaiting assistance for temporary shelter, and for those who lost their homes, assistance for permanent shelter.
Residents in the affected areas have been sleeping in improvised tents made of low cost materials that are not totally water repellent.
The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) of Wao, Lanao del Sur on Thursday passed a resolution recommending to its Sangguniang Bayan (SB) to declare the town under a state of calamity.
Francis Garcia, head of the MDRRM office told MindaNews on Thursday that based on initial reports, at least 1,000 families were affected in 14 out of Wao’s 26 barangays, four of them “seriously affected” — Eastern, Western, Extension and Manila Group in the poblacion area. Ten other villages where damages were reported are Balatin, Banga, Buntongan, East Kilikili, Mimbuaya, Muslim Village, Panang, Park Area, Serran and West Kilikili.
Nor Benito, head of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of the DSWD in Region 12 told MindaNews in a telephone interview that 200 food packs and ready to eat food like cup noodles and biscuits were distributed on Thursday. She said the DSWD team did damage assessment to determine what else the residents need, distributed goods in some barangays and left the rest to the local government unit because the mayor said he would provide additional goods before distributing them.
Benito said they coordinated with the local government of Wao to schedule the releases from the regional office in Koronadal.
She said a team from the regional office left for Wao early Saturday morning with 100 family food packs, 100 gallons of water at six liters per family, 200 pieces malong and five rolls of trapal or laminated sacks at 100 meters per roll.
Benito explained that even as Wao is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the regional office nearest it assists.
The Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the region where Wao belongs sent a team Wednesday to assess the situation and respond accordingly.
A primer on the April 12 quake issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Sesimology (Phivolcs) on the same day said the epicenter of the magnitude 6 quake was 13 km northwest of Wao, at a depth of one kilometer. It said the quake was “generated by the movement of a northwest trending active fault in the area.”
The primer added that current available seismic information suggests that the magnitude 6 quake was “the main shock, which caused the strong ground shaking” and that “the succeeding small-magnitude earthquakes are the aftershocks” which may continue to occur for several days to weeks, some of which may be felt.
The April 12 quake was not the strongest to have struck Wao, according to the Phivolcs. On April 1, 1955, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake was experienced in Lanao area, “considered to be one of the most damaging historical earthquakes in Lanao del Sur (that) resulted to about 400 deaths.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)