Quakes displace 13,000 residents in Davao Sur, Davao Occidental

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 Nov) – The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) has reported a total of 2,722 families or 13,600 individuals displaced in Davao Region due to the four powerful earthquakes that struck parts of Mindanao between October 16 and 31.

Manuel Luis M. Ochotorena, chair of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense-Davao, MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

Manuel Luis M. Ochotorena, RDDRMC chair and regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense-Davao, told reporters on Monday that three assessment teams had been dispatched to severely affected municipalities in Davao del Sur to determine the damages incurred to properties and livelihood, economic losses, and needs of the people.

The teams are expected to complete the report in a week.

“Part of the assessment is to find out the status of the houses because National Housing Authority wanted to get specific data because it wants to provide assistance,” he said.

As of Monday, the official said 2,717 families or 13,575 individuals were displaced in the towns of Bansalan, Matanao, Kiblawan, Padada, and Magsaysay in Davao del Sur, and five families or 25 individuals from Malita and Sta. Maria towns in Davao Occidental.

He said many of the displaced families are in evacuation centers while others opted to stay in makeshift shelters either outside their homes or designated areas for the evacuees, as some of the evacuation facilities had sustained damages.

Four earthquakes above magnitude 6 struck parts of Mindanao in a span of 15 days last month: Magnitude 6.3 on Ocober 16, Magnitudes 6.6 and 6.1 on October 29 and Magnitude 6.5 on October 31.

“The people are now in evacuation centers but others stay outside the evacuation centers as some of them are structurally compromised, so they stay outside with their tents,” he added.

Ochotorena added there were also 1,195 families or 4,784 individuals preemptively evacuated from Magsaysay and Kibalawan towns in Davao del Sur.

Patients at a private hospital in Digos City, Davao del Sur were evacuated outside after the Magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck Mindanao Thursday morning (31 October 2019). MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

“We will discuss with local government unit for the identification of relocation sites for families whose areas have been declared uninhabitable,” he said.

He said the local government units prevented residents of Barangays Malawanit and Upper Bala of Davao del Sur from returning to their homes, as those areas had been declared unsafe for habitation due to the threat of landslide.

He added an incident operation center had been activated in Davao del Sur to respond to the needs of the victims. Relief goods, tarpaulins, and shelter kits have been distributed to affected families, he said.

The OCD-Davao has disbursed a total of P12.6 million, DSWD-Davao P5.4 million, and the Department of Health-Davao P629,000 to support the survivors in severely affected areas. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)