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7.2 Earthquake shakes central Philippines
Geneva, 17 October 2013
1. Brief description of the emergency
An earthquake of magnitude 7.2 rocked Region VII of the Philippines on the morning of 15 October 2013. The epicenter was located east of Carmen in Bohol, part of Central Visayas, Philippines. Its effect was felt across Central Visayas and as far as the coastlines of Mindanao. The quake was so severe that it triggered landslides engulfing homes, ripping apart bridges and blocking access to some areas. As of 5:00 am this morning (17 October), 724 aftershocks have been recorded.
Impact: At least 144 persons are reported dead, 90 of these were from Bohol, and 390 persons are reported injured. A total of 558,390 families or 2,841,956 persons are affected of which, 2,533 families or 12,665 people have been displaced. The count is expected to rise as other municipalities remain isolated and data is not yet available.
Historical sites, century-old churches and some government and public buildings such as hospitals, municipal/city halls and schools were severely damaged. Some roads and bridges were rendered impassable. Power outages are being experienced in the province of Bohol, Iloilo City and Cadiz City. Several strong aftershocks have been reported which may cause additional damage to weakened structures.
2. Why is an ACT response needed
Pending the joint assessment of the ACT Forum Philippines, the current assessment on the most urgent needs is based on news reports and information shared by OCHA and other NGOs. Most urgent needs include food, water and temporary shelters as residents whose houses have been seriously damaged or destroyed have been camping out in open spaces or have set up temporary shelters next to their houses. While food has been made available by the local government authorities in the areas affected, it is not known how long supplies will last. Also, it is feared that water pipelines have been badly damaged which could affect supplies. Thus, emergency water support will be needed. Sanitation is also a concern and, due to the power outages in all locations, there is a need for generators.
Given the huge numbers of affected population, there is a need to provide additional assistance to complement the humanitarian assistance from other NGOs and Local Government Units.
3. National and international response
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has authorized the immediate release of Php10million or $232,558 to its Field office VII intended for the purchase of relief goods. In addition, 2,000 family food packs have been prepositioned along with 100 rolls of laminated sacks. The government has allocated a total of Php98.6 million or $2.3 million worth of standby funds, family packs, and food and non-food items for affected families of the earthquake in Central Visayas.
The Office of the President instructed the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), along with relevant local government offices, to conduct inspections and damage assessments to ensure that public and government buildings affected by the earthquake are safe and secured. Inspections of commercial buildings will also follow.
The United Nations and its humanitarian partners stand ready to support the Government's ongoing efforts for relief, assistance and assessments.
4. ACT Alliance response
ACT Alliance Forum Philippines members are planning to conduct a co-ordinated damage analysis and needs assessment for possible relief activities in the affected areas. Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Philippines is planning to join the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) for assessment on the ground and to explore possibilities of working with local NGOs in Bohol. Co-ordination is ongoing with members of the Alliance for Sphere Advocates in the Philippines.
5. Planned activities
The ACT Forum Philippines has already started coordinating with local NGOs. A joint assessment will be conducted as soon as the concerns on access to the affected areas have been cleared. Based on the results of the assessment, the ACT Forum will convene to work on possible relief and recovery activities including food, non-food (mats and blankets) and water.
Tagbilaran City (Bohol) airport suspended its operations for a while as its second floor terminal building ceiling and airport tower collapsed. Cebu and Iloilo airports were also slightly damaged, but were able to resume operations as of 15 October. Some road networks were severely damaged making access difficult or impossible. Gasoline supplies have run out exacerbating mobility and logistics.
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