Philippines: Surigao Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 1


This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is currently conducting needs assessment. Based on the findings, PRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will determine whether external assistance is required.

The situation

At 22:00H local time Friday 10 February 2017, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northeasternmost Mindanao, Philippines. According to the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the earthquake was relatively shallow, with a depth of 10 kilometres, and its epicentre was about 14 kilometres from Surigao City, the capital of Surigao del Norte Province which is located about 700 kilometres south of Manila. No tsunami alert was issued.

As the quake struck at night, information about its humanitarian impact started to emerge at first light on Saturday morning, 11 February 2017. Government teams, Red Cross personnel and emergency responders from other agencies are currently undertaking rapid assessments. Prior to that, an initial briefing on the situation was provided by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) at 08:00h local time.
According to the Surigao CDRRMC, there are six confirmed deaths – with the number likely to increase – and at least 120 injuries as a result of the earthquake. Many families stayed outside on the pavements last night due to the fear of aftershocks. PHIVOLCS has reported that at least 89 aftershocks have been felt so far.
Based on media, government and other sources, there has been some structural damage to buildings – including cracks, collapsed balconies and wall collapse – but no major destruction has been observed. This, coupled with the aftershocks, may impact on how and when people can return to their homes, work and school. City authorities have suspended classes at all levels, along with work in government and private offices. The city’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is validating numbers of people in evacuation centres, with initial reports indicating that more than 1,000 people evacuated.
The quake disrupted electricity supply in parts of Surigao City and caused total blackouts in the adjacent municipalities of Malimono and San Francisco. Mobile phone networks have also been affected while the runway of Surigao airport has been damaged, prompting the suspension of flights until repair works are undertaken.
Based local government reports, the Anao-aon bridge in San Francisco Municipality has been damaged, isolating two towns. In addition, part of Surigao City’s water supply pipeline has been damaged, disrupting water supply.
Assessments continue and will reveal more information on the impact in the surrounding smaller towns or rural areas. While the figures on damages and casualties will likely to increase, PHIVOLCS has projected that based on historical data, the extent of damage will not be major. According to PHIVOLCS, last night’s quake was due to the movement of the Surigao segment of Philippine fault zone. Its last movement was in 1879, that caused a 7.4 magnitude earthquake.