No water, goods scarce in quake-affected Cotabato towns

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 1 Nov) – Authorities here have called on people to stay calm amidst the chaotic situation the tremors had caused since Thursday.

Cracks along the Kidapawan-Makilala highway. MindaNews photo by GG BUENO

Netizens posted on their Facebook walls photos of how people from different barangays panicked because of no water supply and scarcity of food when government engineers closed shopping malls, grocery centers, banks, and other establishments for thorough inspection of the structural integrity of their buildings.

Mayor Joseph Evangelista said they opened stores at the city’s biggest wet market, noting that vendors are still selling meat and fish but were warned not to increase their prices.

Since Thursday noon, just few hours after the magnitude 6.5 quake, the Metro Kidapawan Water District (MKWD) started the repairs of their damaged pipelines.

As a result, all service areas of the MKWD, including Kidapawan City, Makilala, and Matalam, all in North Cotabato, experienced no water supply, according to an advisory the agency has released to public on Thursday.

Engineer Sandy Alqueza, MKWD assistant general manager, said they are working double time to repair their pipelines.

Meantime, the Cotabato Electric Cooperative (Cotelco) has advised the public to put off their main switch to prevent fires during aftershocks.

Cotelco has already used alternate lines to provide electricity to quake-affected towns, their advisory said.

Since Thursday, city engineers placed yellow lines in each building and ordered owners not to open their establishments until such time they issued certification that their structures are already fit for occupancy.

Evacuees set up tents along the highway in Makilala, North Cotabato. MindaNews photo by GG Bueno

In nearby Makilala town, portions of the Kidapawan-Makilala highway have cracked and bridges have incurred damages.

Sheryl Orbita, acting municipal administrator of Makilala, said they have yet to assess how much damage the quake has brought into their infrastructures, private establishments, and residential houses.

Since the magnitude 6.3 earthquake on October 16, there have been hundreds of aftershocks in North Cotabato, and three other strong temblors of at least magnitude 6 (two on Oct. 29 and the one on Oct. 31) that resulted to 14 deaths, seven missing, and more than 300 people injured, data from the Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) office showed.

The town of Makilala, which was the epicenter in the Oct. 31 quake, has registered at least three confirmed deaths and seven missing due to landslides. The epicenter in the three previous magnitude 6 earthquakes in the last two weeks were all in Tulunan. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)