View February 6, 2012 Negros Quake in a larger map
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - At least 43 people died in Negros Oriental following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the province Monday, an Army official said.
Twenty-nine people died in a landslide in Moog, Barangay Planas in Guihulngan City, and 10 other died in other parts of the city, according to Col. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the Army's 302nd Infantry Brigade.
He said they are still trying to determine the exact number of people injured by the quake and landslide.
Two people died in Tayasan town, one was killed in Bindoy, and another one died in Jimalalod, all in Negros Oriental, Patrimonio said.
He said looting is now rampant in Guihulngan City, forcing the military to enforce tougher security in the quake-hit city.
Negros Oriental Gov. Roel de Gamo, meanwhile, said their own count shows 13 people confirmed dead in the province.
He added that 40 are reportedly missing in Barangay Planas alone.
Benito Ramos, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director, told ANC that they are still trying to verify the reports on the missing people.
"Mayroon mga missing, hindi ito confirmed. Mayroon report doon sa mga malalayong lugar na mayroon nag-landslide," he said. "Dalawang lugar po ito. La Libertad at Guihulngan," he said.
Search and rescue
Night has fallen, causing problems for search and rescue workers sent to area.
"Doon sa mga landslide area, walang ilaw doon. Kaya kailangan, flashlight-an ito ng Army truck, para iyung heavy equipment, mailawan," Ramos said.
He said local governments are coordinating with military and police for search and rescue operations.
He added that evacuation centers have been set up in the 2 areas.
"Iyung Army natin is conducting search and rescue operations sa Guihulngan and papasok yun dun pa sa La Libertad, via Navy na lang kasi na-isolate iyun," Patrimonio said.
"Busy na lahat sa Jimalalud sa rescue operation, so papasukan na lang namin ng separate units iyan by sea, Navy," he said. "Tatlong (areas) lang ang affected, Guihulngan City, La Libertad and Jimalalud, so we will concentrate our efforts sa 3 na ito."
Patrimonio said he has no report yet on the latest situation in Barangay Planas.
"Nasa loob kasi yan eh. Hintay ko lang yung tropa na nagpunta," he said. "Hindi pa natin makuha ngayon but there were quite a number of houses that sustained damages no, dito sa La Libertad meron daw nag-collapse na 3-storey building."
He said some of people killed in the other parts of the province died after being buried by walls and a building that collapsed.
The quake also damaged bridges in the province, according to Patrimonio.
Only light vehicles can now pass the Matilo bridge in La Libertad, the Ayungon bridge and Dayoyo bridge in Jimalalod.
Meanwhile, strong aftershocks struck Negros Oriental and parts of the Visayas on Monday.
The strongest aftershock, which registered 6.2 on the readings of the United States Geological Survey, hit at 6:10 p.m. in an area 60 kilometers north-northest of Dumaguete City.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) confirmed the initial report of the aftershock and warned the public to be on guard for more tremors.
"Ine-expect natin na magko-continue iyun experience ng aftershocks for more than a week," Phivolcs deputy director Bart Bautista told ANC.
"Aabot pa ng mga 2 weeks. Maya-maya, yayanig," he said.
"Maiksi yan kumpara sa na-experience sa Japan. Sa Japan, hanggang nayon, nakaka-experience sila ng aftershocks," he added.
Phivolcs has recorded 157 aftershocks in the area, as of Monday night.
Fifty of the 157 aftershocks were felt mostly in Negros Oriental, the agency said.
It has cancelled the tsunami alert level 2 it earlier issued for coastal areas in Negros and Cebu. -- with a report from Inday Espina Varona, BMPM