Three successive earthquakes occurred in the remote northern Batanes islands of the Philippines on 27 July, displacing nearly 3,000 people.
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66K persons displaced (Marawi)
45K persons displaced (Maguindanao)
$718,000 Funding for Marawi (2019)
Three successive earthquakes occurred in the remote northern Batanes islands of the Philippines on 27 July, each followed by smaller magnitude earthquakes. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the first was a magnitude-5.4 earthquake that occurred at 4:16 a.m. with an epicentre at 21 km north of Itbayat, Batanes with a depth of 7 km. It was felt strongly in Itbayat, Batanes, and moderately strong in Basco and Sabtang, Batanes. The second was a larger magnitude-5.9 earthquake at 7:30 a.m. with an epicentre at 21 km north of Itbayat, Batanes with a depth of 11 km. and was felt at a destructive level in Itbayat, Batanes, strongly in Basco, Ivana, Mahatao in Batanes, and moderately strong in Sabtang and Uyugan in Batanes. The first two earthquakes caused casualties as homes, schools and infrastructures collapsed. A third earthquake with magnitude-5.8 occurred at 9:24 a.m. with an epicentre at 11 km north of Itbayat, Batanes and a depth of 11 km. The early hour of the earthquakes meant villagers were unable to quickly evacuate their homes. According to PHIVOLCS, multiple moderate-sized earthquakes ranging from magnitude-4.2 to 4.8 occurring in the area from 22 to 26 July may have weakened structures and caused greater damage than expected. A majority of the casualties and damage are near the epicentre of the three earthquakes in Itbayat island. As of 29 July, eight deaths, and over 60 people are reportedly injured, while 15 homes are damaged. Two hospitals in Itbayat sustained major damage and no longer function. As of 29 July, nearly 3,000 persons, the entire population of Ibayat, are displaced and seeking shelter in tents at the town plaza waiting for local authorities to declare it safe to return to their homes.
Government and humanitarian response
The national government is leading the response, assisted by the Philippine Red Cross and humanitarian partners. With the remote location of Itbayat, the Office of Civil Defense is coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Health to send medical and rescue teams. The Philippine Air Force transported relief items and rescue teams on 27 July. The Philippine Red Cross is citing the challenge of assisting a remote island, which takes three hours via only small boats to reach, and is working together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to distribute hot meals, radio equipment, satellite phones, water purification tablets, and psychosocial support. On 28 July, President Rodrigo Duterte conducted an aerial assessment and was briefed by local authorities in Batanes, and he pledged Php40 million (US$780,000) in assistance towards those affected by the earthquake and a temporary clinic to treat the injured while the two provincial health facilities are being repaired.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.