MANILA - Residents living near a coastal area in Cataingan, Masbate have fled their homes after Tuesday's magnitude 6.6 earthquake caused the ground to sink in the area, the mayor said Wednesday.
Mayor Felipe Cabataña said the ground sinking is located near a faultline in Barangay Matayum.
"May isang phenomena na ‘di namin maintindihan. Merong lugar dito na nasa faultline, Barangay Matayum. Merong isang sitio doon na malapit sa dagat na parang bumaba ang lupa, ang tubig umakyat na sa kabahayan, pumupunta na sa kabahayan. Very apparent na bumagsak ang lupa," the mayor told ABS-CBN Teleradyo.
Cabataña added that another area showed cracks or fissures on the ground.
The head of the state volcanology and seismology agency said subsidence could explain the ground’s sudden sinking. Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology chief Renato Solidum said the same thing happened in 2003.
"Ang isang dahilan po d'yan dahil coastal area 'yan, mabuhangin, kapag malakas ang pagyanig 'yung mga buhangin nasisiksik at nako-compact bababa yung lupa, relatively aakyat yung tubig dagat," he said.
"Pwede rin pong dahil malapit sa fault, pwedeng may relation, may konting vertical movement pababa ang lupa."
Solidum said the mayor’s decision to evacuate the residents was a good call.
“Hindi na po aalis 'yung tubig,” he said.
Tuesday morning’s powerful quake, measured at magnitude 6.6, destroyed several homes and buildings and resulted in the death of a retired policeman.
“Medyo delikado pa rin, marami pa ring aftershocks. Merong malakas, merong mahina pero ang interval every 2 to 3 hours. May order ako sa mga residente na huwag munang bumalik sa mga mga bahay nila kasi delikado pa,” he said.
Cabataña appealed to the national government to provide them with tents for residents currently staying in schools converted into evacuation centers just to ensure that social distancing will still be observed.
“School ang ginagamit namin, magkukumpol-kumpulan na. Paano ang social distancing?” he said.
Even their quarantine facility which housed around 100 returning stranded residents was damaged. Of the number, around 6 tested positive for COVID-19, he said.
“Nung lumindol, lumabas sa quarantine facilities, kasi quarantine facilities namin na-damage rin. Initial recommendation ng engineer namin huwag munang gamitin 'yung quarantine facilities kaya dito kami nahihirapan, saan ilalagay ang LSI,” he said.