ITBAYAT, Batanes -- Strong winds tore off the makeshift shelter of the survivors of 3 deadly earthquakes here in the country's northernmost town as typhoon Hanna headed to Taiwan on Friday.
Monsoon rains enhanced by Hanna (international name: Lekima) bent the metal frames and left gashes several feet long on the tents built by social workers. Winds also uprooted the makeshift tents built by residents in the town plaza.
Most of the evacuees scurried to the less damaged houses of their relatives, while only 2 families moved to an evacuation area at the nearby school, fearing it would collapse due to cracks caused by the July 27 quakes.
Fishermen in Batanes' second most populous town appealed for government aid, saying the quake buried their boats while those that were not destroyed have not been able to sail because of bad weather.
Three strong tremors with magnitudes ranging between 3.2 and 5.9 had toppled the island's treasured limestone houses and the belfry of a centuries-old parish, tore deep cracks in the road and forced the evacuation of a hospital.
Authorities said some of the 9 dead, including 2 babies under a year old, were crushed by the walls of their own homes.
Batanes is pounded every year by tropical cyclones and homes are built of stone to survive the annual onslaught.
Limestone, the island's primary construction material, can be eroded by water over time, making structures unable to withstand even weak tremors, said Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum.
- With a report from Reuters