Twin quakes affect nearly 3,000 residents in Batanes
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Sunday said around 2,900 residents in Itbayat, Batanes have been affected by the twin strong earthquakes that struck the province early Saturday morning.
In a press briefing, NDRRMC Assistant Secretary Casiano Monilla said of the affected population, 911 families or 2,693 individuals came from five barangays and are currently staying at the Public Market located in Barangay San Rafael.
“Initially they were evacuated to 11 centers yesterday but now we just make it into one… their public market has more spaces,” said Monilla.
He said tents and generator sets have been provided to the victims.
He also clarified that the one of the two persons reported missing earlier was already found at the evacuation center while the other one remains missing.
“Hopefully, we will not have additional damages and casualties. We registered eight deaths. As of now we still have one missing," Monilla said, adding that of the 63 injured, six were evacuated to Basco, the province's capital, for treatment.
He said most of the victims were buried alive as they were still sleeping when the quake transpired.
A total of 15 houses, two schools, and two health facilities were reported damaged.
“This will still be a long operation for us to ensure the integrity of their new homes,” Monilla said.
“If you've been there, Batanes is a heritage site and we can see the houses and even the church (they are made of) stone, there are no metals. It’s more of resiliency to storm but since they were built a long time (they got damaged),” he added.
Monilla said various government agencies have deployed personnel to assist the affected residents.
Magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 earthquakes jolted Batanes at around 4:16am and 7:37am, respectively, last Saturday. Ella Dionisio/DMS