Quake-hit Pampanga sifts through rubble, readies state of calamity

Jonathan Cellona, Jamaine Punzalan and Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2019 09:15 AM | Updated as of Apr 23 2019 01:11 PM

A powerful earthquake on April 22, 2019 cracked roads in Guagua, Pampanga. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

GUAGUA, Pampanga -- Residents of a riverside village here shoveled mud into the cracked floors of their homes, as provincial authorities on Monday prepared to declare a state of calamity following an earthquake that killed at least 15 people and damaged roads, bridges and a major airport.

At least one voice was still being heard from the rubble of a collapsed supermarket in nearby Porac town early Tuesday, where the Magnitude 6.1 quake also caused a portion of a 17th century church to collapse, said Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda.

The quake struck at rush hour on Monday and was felt through most of Central Luzon and Metro Manila, where train services ground to a halt and office workers scampered out of skyscrapers. Work in government centers in the capital were suspended Tuesday.

"Nagrekomenda na ako na magdeclare ng state of calamity. Kailangan nito yung support sa mga casualties," Pineda told ANC's Headstart. Such a declaration will give authorities access to additional funds for disaster response.

(I recommended the declaration of a state of calamity. The casualties need support.)

Referring to the Chuzon Supermarket rubble in Porac, Pineda said: "Ngayon ang priority nila makuha, parang may dumadaing sa loob. Dahan-dahan lang dapat."

(Our priority right now is rescue, there's still someone crying for help. We should be very careful.)

A man was pulled from the supermarket rubble around 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to data from the provincial disaster council. Five people, including 2 children, were killed in the collapsed structure while 18 others are missing.

A powerful earthquake on April 22, 2019 caused a portion of the 17th century St. Catherine Church in Porac to collapse. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

In Guagua town, the quake cracked roads, which extended into houses near a dike, forcing some residents to spend the night outside their homes.

Residents took electric fans, cabinets and TV sets out of their homes as others tried to fill the cracks, which were overflowing with water from the nearby reservoir. Some houses were flooded up to ankle-deep.

Pineda told ANC that the houses of at least 40 families in Guagua were damaged and authorities were working on a more thorough assessment of the devastation.

Residents with cracked floors were advised not to return to their homes yet, she said.

Pampanga's Clark International Airport, an alternative to Manila's main air terminal, was shut down for 24 hours from early Monday evening after the quake shattered glass walls.

The MRT-3, LRT-1, LRT-2 and PNR train lines in the capital resumed operations Tuesday morning. Mall operators Ayala and SM said normal operations would also resume.

Power transmission operations in Central Luzon were "back to normal," the National Grid Corp said.

--with a report from Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News