Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 2 | March 2017



  • A 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Surigao displaces thousands of families and causes destruction to homes, schools and infrastructure.

  • Over 29,000 people are still displaced in Mindanao due to flooding. Heavy rains combined with rivers clogged with water hyacinth heightens the risk.

  • Conflict in Butig, Lanao del Sur continues, with armed groups recruiting more youth as dissatisfaction with the peace process grows.

  • Philippine delegates led by the Office of Civil Defense present on civilmilitary coordination at the Humanitarian Partnerships Week in Geneva.

  • In brief: OCHA releases Philippine geographic and demographic data for each region, a compilation of vital data for disaster preparedness.

Surigao earthquake damage and assistance

Surigao del Norte, a province in the Caraga region of northeastern Mindanao was the scene of an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 that struck on 10 February 2017. The last recorded earthquake in Surigao province occurred more than 130 years ago, in 1873.
The epicentre was located near the capital Surigao City. Strong aftershocks that followed prompted residents to leave their homes and head for higher ground. They feared a tsumani would soon follow, despite reassurance local authorities that the tsunami alert had been lifted. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), as of 21 February there have been over 200 aftershocks recorded.
Many camped outdoors, not wanting to risk staying in buildings including designated evacuation centres.

Over 7,800 people remain displaced by the earthquake. Most of them are staying in open areas near their homes, or with relatives or friends. There were eight reported deaths, three of which were children and two senior citizens, and 202 injuries.

Damage to homes, schools, infrastructure

As of 2 March, over 7,200 houses are reported to be damaged, of which 518 were destroyed. About 81 per cent of the damage is located in Surigao City and the neighboring town of San Francisco.
Seven bridges are damaged, including Anao-aoan Bridge which collapsed, cutting off San Francisco. Villagers built makeshift stairs out of pieces of wood to cross the bridge, but vehicles have to detour downstream to cross the river.
Local authorities are not allowing heavy vehicles to pass bridges which have sustained damage from the earthquake.

More than 40 schools were reported as damaged. A team from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) and geological engineers assessed the structural damage to public buildings, schools, malls and other high-rise buildings. While repairs are ongoing in some schools, on 20 February classes resumed in Surigao City.
Several school are holding classes in shifts, while in San Nicolas a church is being used as an alternative school.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit