Philippines: Tulunan, North Cotabato Earthquakes, Flash Update No. 2
Aftershocks continue to follow the 29 October 6.6-magnitude earthquake in Tulunan, North Cotabato, some 590 have been recorded to date. On 31 October at 9:11 a.m. local time another 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck close to Tulunan. Tectonic in origin, the earthquake was felt strongly in North Cotabato, Kidapawan City, Davao del Sur and surrounding municipalities, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). The earthquake on 29 October caused 8 deaths, some due to collapsed walls and falling debris, and nearly 400 have been injured. The number of casualties and damages is expected to rise as the local authorities continue to conduct assessments.
Affected communities, displaced in evacuation centres, with host families or camping outdoors in makeshift tents are afraid to go indoors for fear of being injured. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), over 25,600 people are affected (previous report 16,400 people) in 59 barangays in Regions XI and XII, of which almost 12,800 (previous report 4,400 people) are in 19 evacuation centres, while over 6,700 (previous report 4,900 people) are staying with host families.
Damage to infrastructure
Over 2,200 homes sustained damages, of which more than half are completely destroyed. Nearly 400 schools, frequently used as evacuation centres, and eight roads and bridges are also damaged in Region IX, X, XI, XII, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). School buildings are expected to be closed until safety inspections are conducted.
In the municipality of Makilala, Cotabato, two affected barangays, Barangay Bato and Barangay Malungon have been inaccessible because of landslides blocking the road leading to the areas. Makilala local authorities are using longer, unpaved routes to deliver the relief items. Many affected families are requesting to be evacuated or have left on foot to safer ground. Access remains difficult as some sites in isolated barangays (villages) have shown cracks, further contributing to narrowing of roadways.
Government and humanitarian response
The national government is leading response efforts and continues to conduct rapid damage and needs assessments and verifying the number of casualties and affected people. The Philippine Red Cross is assisting the government, providing first aid, establishing welfare desks and deploying emergency vehicles, providing water, hot meals, relief items and psychosocial support. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is distributing food and relief assistance to affected families and setting up temporary shelters. Several local authorities are reporting that their food and relief supplies are almost depleted due to repeated response to earthquakes.
Humanitarian organizations, local and international NGOs and private sector partners have deployed staff to conduct rapid damage and needs assessments in affected areas in Kidapawan City, Tulunan, North Cotabato and Mlang, Cotabato. Heavy rains have been reported in Kidapawan City and Tulunan which has hampered access and the conduct of assessment. Initial assessments show that emergency shelter is a priority need, as many homes are either destroyed or unsafe and their walls are near collapsing.
As strong earthquakes continue to occur and affected communities remain outdoors, water, food and health assistance are priority needs. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), a low-pressure area was detected 460 km east of Davao City and could potentially cause heavy rains over the weekend that may result in flash floods and landslides in the Davao Region, Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions.