More help sent to quake-stricken North Cotabato
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sent more troops to Kidapawan City and Tulunan town in North Cotabato as reports of deaths and residents left homeless continue to pour in from stricken areas.
A tremor measuring at 6.4 magnitude rocked Tulunan town at 9:14 a.m. on Thursday, October 31, 2019, collapsing buildings already weakened by two previous strong quakes.
In a report from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division of the Province of Cotabato, five have died in the town of Makilala.
A barangay captain, identified as Cesar Bangot, died when the Batasan Hall collapsed Thursday morning while he was sorting relief goods intended for the victims of the earthquake on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.
The others on the list are Juve Gabriel Jauod, Tessie Alcaide, Romel Galicia, and Precilla Verona.
Aside from those who died due to the quake, more than 5,200 residents in Makilala town were also rendered homeless after their houses were destroyed by the quake according to Caritas Philippines, a Church-based relief agency.
Lieutenant Colonel Ezra Balagtey, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao spokesperson, said elements from two army brigades—the 901st brigade and 1002nd brigade—have joined forces for the relief efforts.
Balagtey said Lieutenant General Felimon Santos, commander of the Armed Forces Eastern Command, has ordered the deployment of Air Force Huey helicopters to Kidapawan and other stricken areas.
Colonel Rey Alvarado, commanding officer of the Army 72nd Infantry Battalion, said most of the patients that were evacuated from the eight-story Kidapawan Doctors’ Hospital will spend the night on the streets and open spaces.
“Electricity was restored here by 4 p.m. but the aftershocks are still very strong,” Alvarado said.
He said around 100 personnel workers are also still trapped in the Mt. Apo Geothermal Power Plant in Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City.
Alvarado said roads leading to the power plant were rendered impassable by fallen rocks and debris.
He said many of the Ubo Manobo lumads living on the side of Mt. Apo have came down to Kidapawan after rocks as big as boulders crushed their houses.
Rey Barnido, member of a Caritas relief team said, said the local government of Makilala town informed them that the quake on Thursday morning rendered more than 5,200 families or more than 31,000 persons homeless.
“Every now and then we can feel the ground shaking and the tremor is very strong,” Barnido said.
He added that Kidapawan City, and the towns of Makilala and Tulunan need major relief efforts due to the quakes. /bmjo
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