MANILA — Four women were forced to deliver their babies via caesarean section in tents outside the provincial hospital of Cotabato, the epicenter of a third powerful quake that damaged structures across Mindanao in a month, Gov. Lala Mendoza said Friday as authorities scrambled to relocate locals to safer ground.
The magnitude 6.5 quake on Thursday damaged buildings that withstood 2 previous tremors this month, including Cotabato's capitol hall, gymnasium, agriculture center and hospital, said Mendoza.
"Ang hospital namin, may mga cracks... Nasa labas iyong aming ibang pasyente dahil kahit hindi kami high-rise, natakot man din. This is why 2 caesarean sections happened yesterday in the tents outside the hospital," she told radio DZMM.
(Our hospital has cracks. Our patients are outside because even it's not a highrise, they're afraid. This is why 2 cesarean sections happened yesterday in the tents outside the hospital.)
In a text message around noon, Mendoza said the number of caesarean operations outside the hospital has reached 4, including an ongoing delivery and another for ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy, in which implantation of the embryo occurs outside the uterine cavity, is a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Thursday's quake displaced 4,052 families and authorities were set to evacuate residents from 4 more villages that are in "no-build zones" facing threats of landslide and earthquake, said the governor.
The Cotabato provincial government has declared a state of calamity to tap emergency funds — a move it made in 2 previous instances this year due to a spike in dengue cases and the El Niño weather pattern, Mendoza said.
The national government, meanwhile, tapped private engineers to help inspect quake-hit structures, said Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
The health department also sent medical teams, tents and medicine to areas worst hit by the quake, including Cotabato's Kidapawan City and Makilala, M'lang and Tulunan towns, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.