2019 destructive quakes remembered through distribution of cash aid to victims

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 18 October) —  North Cotabato commemorated on Friday the first anniversary of the October 2019 above Magnitude 6 quakes by distributing some P7 million cash aid to hundreds of families in Makilala town.

In the last quarter last year, at least five destructive quakes, all above Magnitude 6, struck, displacing thousands of residents in North Cotabato and neighboring Davao del Sur:  Magnitude 6.3 on October 16; 6.6 and 6.1 on October 29; 6.5 on October 31 and 6.9 on December 15.

A girl joins the queue for water from a tanker that brought in supply for earthquake evacuees at the Malasila Elementary School in Makilala, North Cotabato Tuesday (5 November 2019).

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco led the distribution of 10,000 cash each to 700 families identified by the local government of Makilala, from the barangays of Batasan, Buena Vida, Balawan, and Malasila.

A week ago, Catamco also shelled out cash aid to thousands of earthquake victims, also in Makilala.

The cash aid is aimed at helping the families start life anew once they leave the evacuation camps.

Dr. Philbert Malaluan,  2nd district Board Member, said the governor expressed fear that earthquake victims who refuse to leave camp might catch COVID-19  as they are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to local transmission of the disease.

The facade of Eva’s Hotel along Quezon Blvd. in the heart of Kidapawan City that crumbled after the magnitude 6.5 quake that hit North Cotabato Thursday morning (31 October 2019). MindaNews photo by JULES L. BENITEZ

In Kidapawan City, the construction of housing units for thousands of families hit by the quakes began in December last year but the project implementation was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Displaced residents in Makilala are also awaiting relocation. The local government is still working on the housing site.

The strong quakes in October 2019 affected more than 20,000 families in Makilala; 11,000 families in Kidapawan City; and more than 10,000 families in towns of Magpet, Arakan, Tulunan, and M’lang – all in North Cotabato.

At least 40 people were reported dead or missing and nearly 800 were injured, the according to data from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office. (Malu Cadelina-Manar / MindaNews)