Philippines: Mindanao Earthquakes Emergency Operation update n° 1 Emergency appeal n° MDRPH036

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Description of the disaster

On 29 October 2019, a series of strong earthquakes struck Tulunan in the province of North Cotabato, Mindanao. The first magnitude 6.6 and 7 km deep earthquake was recorded at around 9:04am in Tulunan by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
The second significant Magnitude 6.1 and 9 km deep earthquake shook the North Cotabato Province at 10:42 am local time with almost the same epicenter.

Just two days after, on 31 October 2019 at 9:15 am, another tectonic1 magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook central and eastern Mindanao at a shallow depth of two kilometers. Once again, the epicenter was identified in Tulunan, North Cotabato. A State of calamity 2 was declared for Davao del Sur on 30 October 2019 and Cotabato on 5 November 2019, the two-hardest-it provinces. These earthquakes, as well as the magnitude 6.3 earthquake recorded on 16 October 2019, with the same epicenter location, are considered part of a sequence of events resulting from interdependent faults in the region. No tsunami warnings were issued but many aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 1.5 to 5.5 have since been recorded.

As of 30 November 20193 , a total of 23 people had been reported dead, 563 injured and 11 missing in the Regions of Northern Mindanao (X), Davao (XI), SOCCSKARGEN (XII) and BARMM. The earthquakes have affected 71,247 families (349,226 people) in 362 barangays in Regions Davao (XI) and SOCCSKSARGEN (XII). The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) also reported that 13,073 families (60,130 people) were taking temporary shelter in 107 evacuation centres while 25,812 families (125,609 people) were served outside the evacuation centres.

On 15 December 2019, at 2:11 pm local time, a tectonic earthquake of magnitude 6.9 and 3 km deep struck Davao del Sur on the island of Mindanao. This will further exacerbate the situation of those already affected by the previous series of earthquakes.

According to OCHA, there are some 838,000 people living in the area worst affected by all four earthquakes. Damage to infrastructures in public buildings, roads, water supply and power outages has been reported. All municipalities in Davao del Sur were affected, while the initial reports indicate Padada, Hagonoy, Matanao and Magsaysay are among the hardest hit. Padada town, close to the epicenter, already declared the state of calamity. In Hagonoy, at least 660 houses are partially or totally damaged, including a totally damaged hospital. According to NDDRMC, there are 1,913 families or 9,565 persons taking temporary shelter in 13 evacuation centers in Region XI. Initial reports suggest there is housing damage, but this figure is yet to be confirmed by assessment. Seven people have been reported dead and 49 injured, though the number is expected to rise.

The IFRC and PRC are on alert and reacting actively. The PRC’s Operations Center has been activated, a medical team has been deployed in the field as well as search and rescue, rapid assessments and relief delivery teams.

Damage was caused to infrastructures in various areas in Mindanao (Regions IX, X, XI, XII, and BARMM), as a result of the earthquakes:

• 49,690 houses damaged (26,025 totally and 23,665 partially).

• 1,545 schools affected (37 fully and 1,508 partially).

• 274 health facilities damaged (50 fully and 224 partially).

• Other public infrastructures such as 30 partially damaged roads and bridges as well as places of worship (24) and private/commercial establishments (57).

• Water and sanitation facilities in public and private buildings and water infrastructures such as reservoirs, water treatment facilities, pumping stations and water distribution systems were also damaged.