Philippines: Batanes Earthquakes Emergency Plan of Action Operation Update n° 1 DREF n° MDRPH034

Description of the disaster

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) reported that two moderate sized shallow earthquakes with magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 occurred on Saturday, 27 July 2019, at 4:16am and 7:37am respectively. Their epicentres were located on the northeast of Itbayat, Batanes.
In accordance with the PHIVOLCS Earthquake Intensity Scale (PEIS) the maximum intensities were VII (destructive) on Itbayat V (Strong) in Basco and IV (moderately Strong) in Sabtang and Ivana.

Based on the impact of earthquake, Itbayat municipality declared the state of calamity on 29 July 2019. Which allowed government to mobilize the calamity funds and process for relief items. By 1 August 2019, the entire province of Batanes has been placed under a state of calamity.

Summary of current response

Overview of Host National Society

Immediately after the earthquake struck, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) operations centre (OpCen), which operates 24/7, collected, monitored and disseminated information to its chapters. Communications teams also posted updates on Facebook and Twitter. The PRC Batanes chapter coordinated their response with the local government and respective Municipal and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee (DRRMC).

PRC National Headquarters (NHQ) and Batanes chapter coordinated with the local government unit (LGU) of Itbayat to conduct the rapid needs assessment. The NHQ deployed assessment teams and radio technician to set up the emergency telecommunications in the area and assist the chapter in its operation. Assessment teams were composed of PRC’s National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) and other sector-specialized PRC personnel for relief, shelter, WASH and welfare.
With continuous aftershocks and damaged houses, many families slept in the open in the first days after the earthquake. In response, PRC deployed staff and volunteers support the set-up of tents in safe areas. PRC has setup the welfare desk at Itbayat Plaza and provided psychosocial support (PSS), provided hot meals and drinking water.

On 1 August 2019, the IFRC released CHF 100,032 from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to enhance the National Society response capacity and resources to respond to the immediate needs of Batanes earthquake affected families