Philippines Humanitarian Country Team - Tulunan, North Cotabato Earthquakes Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (January - June 2020)


Key Figures

As of 10 January 2020 (DSWD )

1.8 M population in severely affected areas

625,700 people affected and in need of assistance

70,000 people displaced and in recognized evacuation centres

73,100 houses damaged and destroyed

247,000 people targeted for shelter/CCCM assistance

31.8M required funding (US$) (1.6B Philippine Peso)


Between 16 October and 15 December 2019 four earthquakes above magnitude 6 struck the provinces of North Cotabato and Davao del Sur in Mindanao. After a first earthquake in October, two additional tremors of magnitude-6.6 and 6.5 struck an area 25 kilometres southeast of the municipality of Tulunan in North Cotabato province, with the last one occurring at shallow depth. The October earthquakes caused ground shaking and soil liquefaction followed by multiple landslides and debris flows, in particular in mountainous areas around Mount Apo, as well as flooding of several barangays (villages) as the result of damaged dikes. The earthquakes triggered substantial displacement as a result of destroyed, damaged or unsafe homes.

While the Government authorities, supported by humanitarian partners with presence on the ground, started to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need, a fourth earthquake occurred on 15 December with a magnitude of 6.9, affecting many areas that were struck before. The epicentre was located 9 kilometres northwest of Matanao, Davao del Sur and shook the province of Davao del Sur and vicinity. The December earthquake compounded previous displacement as well as damage to homes, schools and infrastructure from the October earthquakes. Municipalities in Davao del Sur in particular were struck multiple times by the series of tremors. OCHA estimates that some 838,000 people live in the areas that were exposed to all four earthquakes.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), over 625,000 people/132,000 families are affected in Region XI and XII. As of 7 January, more than 70,000 people/16,000 families are taking shelter in over 170 evacuation centres (ECs), while almost 160,000 people/35,000 families are staying outside of ECs or in home-based settings. In total, 36 were killed and over 770 people injured by collapsing structures, falling debris, cardiac arrest and other earthquake-related traumas.

Strong ground shaking led to additional and newly damaged and destroyed houses and compromised vital infrastructure, including roads, schools and hospitals, causing the interruption of basic services to health, clean water, hygiene and sanitation, and education of learners.
According to the NDRRMC, more than 43,000 houses are partially damaged and almost 30,000 totally destroyed. Some 165 health facilities, and 36 bridges and roads have been reported as damaged or destroyed.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd), the October and December earthquakes damaged over 1,370 schools in Region X, XI, XII and BARMM affecting more than 853,000 enrolled students. In particular schools in the municipalities of Padada, Kiblawan, Hagonoy and Matanao in Davao del Sur were damaged multiple times by the series of earthquakes. An estimated PhP5,3 billion (US$104 million) will be needed for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged schools.

As of 7 January, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) have provided a total of PhP172,5 million ($3,4 million) worth of assistance to the affected families.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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