21 dead in two quakes, official denies humanitarian crisis
The death toll due to magnitude 6.6 and 6.5 earthquake that recently hit the province of Cotabato reached to 21 with a total of 432 victims injured and two others missing, the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Sunday.
Twelve fatalities were recorded in the Oct. 29 6.6 magnitude quake while nine others died following the 6.5 tremor Oct.31.
Three victims were from the Davao Region while the others were recorded in Soccsksargen.
NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad assures there is no humanitarian crisis in the areas hit by quakes following of people begging motorists for food and necessities.
“No, the market is functioning. There are supplies of food so those who have money can purchase. The problem is those who do not have money,” he said.
Jalad said people displaced by the earthquake who have to move down from the mountains lost their livelihood.
“Those who were displaced from the mountain, they moved down. They do not have livelihood there. They lost their source of income,” he said
Jalad said the national government still has “enough resources” to help the earthquake victims and he does not yet see the need to ask for assistance from the international community.
On Friday, the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said it will donate three million renminbi (approximately 22 million pesos) to aid victims and support the disaster relief efforts by the Philippine government in Mindanao.
A total of 28,932 infrastructure in Zamboanga regions, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were damaged because of the quakes, of which 21,029 were destroyed while 7,903 others were partially damaged.
The affected population reached 35,661 families or 178,305 individuals.
According to the NDRRMC, around 4,362 families or 21,810 individuals are taking temporary shelter in 30 evacuation site within Davao and Soccsksargen.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Executive Secretary Salvador Meldialdea said National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was tasked to lead the relief efforts for the victims of earthquake in Southern Philippines.
“I have tasked Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, as head of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Martial Law Administrator, to lead all relief efforts, and to ensure safety and security of the public in the earthquake stricken areas of Mindanao,” he said.
“The public is advised to coordinate directly with the DND and/or National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to ensure the efficient conduct of relief efforts, including the distribution of relief goods and rescue operations,” he added.
Major Aristides Galang Jr., Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesman, confirmed that the “a total of 17,000 lbs. of relief items such as medicines, food packs, tents, and other essential items donated by various government and non-government agencies Davao, Cotabato and General City via PAF C-130 (aircraft) on November 01, 2019.”
“Due to the lack of drinking water, the Office of Civil Defense sent portable water filtration units and other relief items from Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base to Davao City via a PAF C295 on November 02, 2019,” he said.
Galang said the Philippine Air Force B412 CUH helicopter also conducted aerial reconnaissance on Saturday “over Sitio Kapatagan, Barangay Luayon in Makilala, Cotabato where over 90 families are believed to be stranded due to inaccessible roads due to landslides.”
“The Philippine Air Force is on full alert to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance and disaster response needed and is always ready to utilize its aircraft in transporting donations and relief goods,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS