Rescuers rush to find survivors; 3m affected
The number of fatalities from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake which jolted Bohol, Cebu and other provinces in Visayas and Mindanao on Tuesday had already climbed to 151, with 291 injured and 23 still missing, disaster agency officials said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported on Wednesday that Bohol was the worst hit with 134 fatalities, 42 in Loon town, a coastal town with a population of 40,000.
At least nine people died in Cebu.
The day after. A photo posted in President Aquino’s Twitter account shows his arrival in Tagbilaran City on Wednesday, minutes before an aftershock of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the Central Visayas on Tuesday. Other government agencies like the Coast Guard (above right) scrambled to get relief to Bohol and Cebu as Aquino inspected (photos below) the damaged port and several bridges. AFP, DANNY PATA
In all, the NDRRMC said about 3 million, or more than 500,999 families had been affected in 879 barangays, in 27 municipalities and 7 ciies in three provinces in Region VII.
Loon, along with, Maribojoc, had been isolated because of severe damage to their roads and bridges and can only be reached through the sea or by helicopter.
Authorities on Wednesday recovered two more bodies, which were among the latest to be retrieved and brought to the Cong. Castillo Memorial Hospital by rescuers.
NDRRMC Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario said 23 are still missing in different parts of Bohol.
Rescuers are racing against time to find the missing in the aftermath of the earthquake which tore down centuries-old churches, buildings and other structures, destroyed roads and bridges and triggered landslides that engulfed several houses.
NDRRMC spokesman Reynaldo Balido said it was proving to be difficult for police and government rescue workers to reach isolated communities.
Balido, citing data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), also said that the number of affected population also climbed to 593,561 families or 3,017,814 persons in the provinces of Bo-hol, Cebu and Siquijor.
The DSWD said it has added 21 more evacuation centers – 34 in bohol and 17 Cebu City—serving 5,992 families or 30,359 individuals.
The Department of Public Works and Highways, meanwhile, said the quake damaged 20 bridges in Bohol, 18 of them rendered impassable to pedestrians and motorists.
DPWH Central Visayas Director Ador Canlas said it could take four weeks to repair the damaged structures.
Among the bridges not passable include Abatan Bridge along Tagbilaran North Road; Camayaan Bridge along Tagbilaran North Road in Cortes; Tultogan Bridge along Tagbilaran North Road in Calape; Tagbuane Bridge along Tagbilaran East Road in Albur; Moalong Bridge along Tagbilaran North Road; Hunan Bridge along Tagbilaran North Road; Taguimtim, Damiao and Daet bridges along Tagbilaran North Road in Bue-navista; Palo, Hinawanan, Bonkokan, Banban, and Panangatan bridges along Tagbilaran East Road, and Agape Bridge along Loay Interior Road.
Canlas said the department will construct temporary bridges since without the bridges, it would be difficult to transfer supplies and relief goods to affected residents.
He added that Suarez Bridge along Dawis Panglao Road and the Salog Bridge along Tagbilaran North Road sustained minor minor damages and remained passable.
The Panangatan River Control, a flood control structure along Tagbilaran East Road, was totally damaged.
Canlas also identified four impassable road sections in the province due to massive landslides and damaged roadways. These are the
re Cortes-Balilihan-Catigbian-Macaas Road; Tagbilaran East Road Laya Baclayon; Tagbilaran North Road (Km 89.869-Km 89.950); and Loay Interior Road Loboc Section.
In Cebu, cracks were discovered along the Carcar-Barili Road (Sta. 45+00), Sibonga-Dumanjug Road (km 57), while a landslide occurred at the Cebu Toledo Wharf Road (km 20) but these roads remained passable to vehicles after DPHW personnel cleared them of the obstruction.
The DPWH Central Visayas regional personnel are currently conducting inspections in Cebu, che0cking possible damages in Cansaga Bay, Mandaue-Mactan, and Marcelo Fernan bridges including Subangdaku Flyover and other structures.
Other than the century-old Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in Cebu City and those reported by DPWH Cebu 4th District Engineering Office which includes multiple cracks at Dalaguete Church and Dalaguete Provin-cial High School, no major damage has been reported to date on national buildings in the province.
Ten churches, many of them dating back centuries to Spanish colonial rule of the Philippines, were destroyed or badly damaged in Bohol and in Cebu.
NDRRMC officials said aftershocks continued to rattle the area. More than 800 aftershocks were recorded, including two on Wednesday with magnitudes exceeding 5.1.
President Benigno Aquino visited Bohol on Wednesday to oversee rescue efforts, and sought to reassure survivors.
The Education department, meanwhile, said classes in public and private at all levels in all the affected areas in the cities of Cebu and Mandanue in Cebu and Tagbilaran City, Maribojoc and Loon in Bohol are sus-pended until Friday.
The DepEd said at least 30 schools and two division offices were totally damaged.
Aside from churches, bridges, roads and schools, the NDRMMC said at least 11 hospitals also suffered structural damages.
Of the 11 hospitals, six are Department of Health hospitals, two are local government hospitals, and the rest are privately-owned hospitals.
Patients from at least two heavily damaged hospitals were transferred to other locations, the DOH said in its report.
Meanwhile, the DOH said it has deployed medical teams in Tagbilaran City to augment the city’s medical staff.
Orthopedic surgeons were also sent to Bohol to assist the medical teams.
Two DOH teams from the East Ave Medical Center and Quirino Memorial Medical Center also arrived in Bohol on Wednesday.
Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa earlier said that aside from medical teams, medicines and medical supplies and equipment would be sent to the hospitals in the affected provinces.
Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said via Twitter that hospitals should be prepared for the influx of patients with injuries ranging from simple lacerations to fatal crushing injuries.
He also warned the public on dusts from collapsed buildings which could pose serious dangers to health.
He said the dusts could clog air passages of trapped survivors and could cause severe lung problems or even death.
Meanwhile, power is expected to be restored Wednesday by the Bohol Electric Cooperative in at least 14 towns in Bohol, according to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
The NGCP said the electric cooperative has already restored 100 percent power in its area of coverage.
The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. With Florante Solmerin, Rio N. Araja, AFP abnd PNA