Aid agency CARE has begun assessing the damage caused by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake that jolted the island of Mindanao in Southern Philippines at 10:03 p.m. last Friday. The earthquake brought huge public infrastructure and shelter damage, panic to affected residents specifically women and children, and over 200 injured and wounded people.
The epicenter is located 16km offshore northwest of Surigao City in the province of Surigao del Norte at a depth of 10km. The earthquake was generated by the movement of Surigao segment of the Philippine fault. Small-magnitude earthquakes followed afterwards, and over 100 aftershocks have been recorded by the Philippine Government.
“It is very unfortunate that the earthquake happened while almost everyone was asleep. CARE, having its presence in Mindanao through our local partners, immediately responded and we hope to reach the most affected communities as soon as possible,” said David Gazashvili, CARE’s Country Director in the Philippines.
CARE immediately contacted and coordinated with its local partners Agri-Aqua Development Coalition (AADC), Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and ACCORD Inc. to ensure the safety of their staff and planned on conducting an assessment. These partners have existing projects in Mindanao and have already established networks with local government units. CARE Emergency Coordinator deployed to Surigao City to conduct a rapid needs assessment with its partners on the ground, including BREAD, a local organization based in Surigao City.
“A lot of people we spoke with are afraid to return to their homes since there are still many aftershocks. We have seen people who built a temporary shelter out of debris, and children and young women who are now homeless,” said CARE’s Emergency Coordinator, Jerome Lanit.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), over 5,000 people were affected in 54 villages in the province of Surigao del Norte. Approximately, more than 1,000 houses in Surigao del Norte were damaged. Of which, 15% are totally damaged while 85% are partially damaged.
“The affected people are in dire need of shelter repair materials and potable water as their water facilities were heavily damaged by the typhoon. Women and children also need psychosocial support as they got traumatized after the earthquake, said Lanit.
CARE has worked in the Philippines since 1949, providing emergency relief when disaster strikes and helping communities prepare for disasters. CARE’s past responses in the Philippines have included Typhoon Bopha in 2012, Haiyan in 2013, Hagupit in 2014, Koppu and Melor in 2015, Lawin and Nina in 2016.
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