Philippines

Philippines: Abra Earthquake - Flash Update No. 3 (As of 1 August 2022, 3pm. local time)

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Situation Overview

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), a total of 48,477 people are currently displaced across the Cordillera and Ilocos Regions following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake which struck the highland province of Abra on 27 July. Of the total number of IDPs, 44,889 are camping out in open spaces or are hosted by relatives/friends, while 3,588 are in 38 evacuation centers. The province of Abra accounted for the most IDPs with over 98 per cent of the total figures. The government also confirmed the deaths of 10 individuals along with 375 injuries.

With damage and needs assessments now fully underway, disaster authorities reported that 24,547 houses and 177 health facilities were either damaged or destroyed. Some 263 schools sustained damages with 1.157 classrooms also either destroyed or damaged.

Agricultural infrastructure was also damaged, such as irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads, and farm structures. Tons of vegetables from the Cordillera region are sold daily to Metro Manila and other parts of the country, but transport of these produce are unhampered so far as major roads are being cleared and reopened.
On 30 and 31 July, a rapid needs assessment was conducted by a team composed of IOM, WFP, UNICEF, and UNDP staff with technical expertise on CCCM, Shelter, WASH, Health/MHPSS, Protection, Logistics, and Early Recovery. The team, deployed under existing bilateral programs with national government agencies, assessed the existing and emerging humanitarian needs in Abra province. Agencies with existing programs in several affected areas – such as AAH, Relief International, World Vision and Care – also conducted assessments over the weekend. The following are the initial findings from the various assessment reports:

▪ Shelter repair kits and construction materials are the priority needs to kickstart the rehabilitation of damaged houses. Due to successive aftershocks, affected families are staying in self-settled camp sites/open spaces which require temporary shelters such as tarpaulins/modular tents. Families that are living in landslide-prone areas will have to be resettled to safer areas thus the need for transitional and/or permanent shelters.

▪ Local governments have requested the national government for replenishment of relief items. Additional relief items are needed such as food rations and non-food items (hygiene kits, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping maps, kitchen sets).

▪ Medical supplies, basic and maintenance medicines, and human health resources are needed, including nutrition commodities. While there is high COVID-19 vaccination rate, it was observed that locals are not observing minimum public health standards such as mask wearing and physical distancing. Water quality monitoring and testing will have to be conducted to ensure continued access to safe drinking water.

▪ With over 2,000 aftershocks occurring five days since the earthquake, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support is recommended as community members, particularly children, have shown signs of distress.
While there are no reported cases of abuse and referral systems are operational, responders should be on alert regarding potential protection issues as the affected people continue to sleep outside their dwellings and are exposed to hazards.

Government response efforts

Both national and local governments continue to lead the response and have provided relief assistance to affected people. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) released a total of 41,000 family food packs to field offices in the Cordillera and Ilocos Regions, with 25,000 more to be delivered to augment local response efforts. DSWD also activated the Gender-Based Violence sub-cluster to ensure the protection of IDPs, especially women and children.

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, with support of IOM and funding from USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, distributed 2,000 tarpaulins in Abra and 1,000 tarpaulins in Ilocos Sur. An additional 600 tarpaulins were also distributed by the Office of Civil Defense.

The Department of Health provided hospital tents, beds, hygiene kits, and various medicines to the provincial hospital in Abra. Members of the government Health Cluster are also providing medical services; distributing aquatabs and chlorine granules, including monitoring and testing of water quality; and rationing water.

The government Search, Rescue and Retrieval Cluster led by the military deployed 55 Urban Search and Rescue teams from the uniformed services to support in rescue and clearing operations. Military air assets were also used to transport relief items to mountainous areas that have been cut off.

Response operations are within the capacities of government and they have not requested for international assistance.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.