Nearly 3,000 reeling from Batanes quakes: NDRRMC


Posted at Jul 28 2019 11:20 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2019 04:07 PM

Locals gather around debris after 2 earthquakes struck Batanes on Saturday, July 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of Richard Calma

MANILA -- (2ND UPDATE) Nearly 3,000 people are reeling from the damage left by two strong earthquakes that struck Batanes Saturday.

A total of 2,963 people or 911 families were affected by the tremors that have generated some 180 aftershocks, a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Sunday showed.

The death toll still stands at 8, while 1 person remains missing. 

Gina Vallente was among those who lost a loved one in the earthquake after her daughter was buried when their house collapsed Saturday.

Wiping a tear, Vallentes said she and her other family members could have also died if not for a staircase.

“Pagkatapos 'yung kama namin meron hagdan, mahaba, kung wala 'yung hagdan na 'yun kasama kaming 3 nalibing ng buhay,” Vallente said.

(Our bed has a long staircase, and if not for that, the 3 of us would have been buried too.)

As per NDRRMC count, 63 people have been reported injured. However, Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco has estimated the number to be about 100.

Cayco appealed for food supplies for locals.

"Kailangan ho namin pagkain. Kasi ho, ayaw nang umuwi sa mga bahay-bahay so wala sila," she said.

(We need food because people don't have food since they don't want to go home.)

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has also shipped relief goods, generator sets, radios, and water bladders to Batanes, according to its chairman Senator Richard Gordon.

Responders from the PRC also arrived in Batanes on Sunday morning to help with relief operations, Gordon said.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Richard Gordon

On Saturday, two earthquakes in the magnitude-5 range hit the northern islands. The first one registered at 5.4 struck at 4:16 a.m. at a depth of 12 kilometers northeast of Itbayat town.

Three hours later, a second one at magnitude-5.9 struck at about 19 kilometers off Itbayat.

At least 5 villages in Itbayat islands were the hardest hit, according to the NDRRMC. Most of the residents in the said area are currently seeking shelter at public markets.

"As of now, lahat po ng tao sa Itbayat, Kataman, Matamtaman, nandoon na ho sa lahat ng plaza," Cayco said.

(Everyone is in the plaza in Itbayat, Kataman, and Matamtaman.)

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to visit Batanes on Sunday to assess the extent of damage in the province, Malacañang said.

-- report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News