Quake-hit Ormoc under state of calamity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2017 08:04 AM | Updated as of Jul 11 2017 08:52 AM

MANILA - Officials have declared a state of calamity in Ormoc, Leyte, one of the worst-hit areas during a magnitude 6.5 earthquake last week, Mayor Richard Gomez confirmed Tuesday.

A state of calamity means local officials can tap emergency funds for the evacuees and impose a price freeze on basic commodities.

"Twenty percent of the calamity fund, puwede naming gamitin agad sa pagbili ng pagkain, tubig, materials para habang nasa relocation sila," Gomez said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."

"Iyung natitirang pondo, puwede naming gamitin para magpa-ayos ng relocation site nila."

Gomez said the quake damaged scores of buildings in Ormoc including 18 classrooms that can no longer be used. At least 100 other classrooms now have cracks on the walls, he added.

A total of 616 families from Barangay Tongonan and Lake Danao, which both straddle the fault line that generated the earthquake, were evacuated to 6 relocation sites.

The mayor said these families would have to be permanently relocated to a safer area.

Local officials hold a meeting about the aftermath of an earthquake that rattled Leyte and nearby provinces.

Photo courtesy of Alex Hoseña via Ranulfo Docdocan

Local officials hold a meeting about the aftermath of an earthquake that rattled Leyte and nearby provinces.

Photo courtesy of Alex Hoseña via Ranulfo Docdocan

A copy of the state of calamity signed by Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez is seen in this photo from Alex Hoseña.

Photo courtesy of Alex Hoseña via Ranulfo Docdocan

Thursday's tremor left 2 dead in the central islands. Its epicenter was traced to Jaro, Leyte about 70 kilometers away from Ormoc.

Ormoc and the nearby town of Kananga, which also declared a state of calamity last week, suffered the most damage to property, state seismologists earlier said.

Leyte and neighboring provinces have since experienced aftershocks, including a magnitude 5.4 quake on Monday morning.

Gomez said the aftershock sent panicked residents scrambling for safer ground.

About 20 students from a school near the city hall, he said, were injured in their rush to evacuate yesterday. Three other individuals in a mountainside village were also injured by falling debris.

"Siguro mahigit 20 iyung mga estudyante na binigyan ng first aid. Pero iyung 3 na nasa bundok, sila ang dinala sa ospital kasi nabagsakan sa ulo iyung 2 tapos iyung isa, nabagsakan sa likod. Hindi siya makalakad, under observation pa kung makakalakad pa iyung bata," he said.

The Ormoc government has suspended classes in all levels on Tuesday.

Local officials also expect power to be restored in their city later today, Gomez said.