CARE responds as strong earthquake jolts Central Philippines

A powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Central Philippines Thursday at 4:03 p.m. The quake was recorded eight kilometers southwest of Jaro town on the Island of Leyte, the same province where typhoon Yolanda brought catastrophic damage in November 2013.

As of July 7, 2017 two persons were reported dead in Kananga town and Ormoc City while 72 are injured and being treated in hospitals. The earthquake brought panic to people, and caused infrastructure damage and blackout in Leyte and other nearby provinces.

“CARE has ongoing development projects in Leyte, particularly in towns near the earthquake’s epicenter. All CARE and partner staff are safe and we are monitoring the condition of our project participants in different affected communities,” said Tess Bayombong, CARE Philippines Acting Country Director.

CARE’s emergency response partners Leyte Center for Development (LCDE) and Rural Development Initiatives in the Islands of Leyte deployed teams to immediately assess damages and needs in communities.

LCDE was able to reach the upland village of Milagro in Ormoc City which suffered major structural damages and residents reported some minor injuries. LCDE staff observed that almost 90% of the houses in the area were totally damaged and many of these are not safe to live in anymore.

“Residents are now forced to temporarily stay in makeshift tents along the streets adjacent to their houses. They really need food, potable water, tents, sleeping mats especially for women and children who are exposed to harmful elements outside,” said Reniel Sanica, LCDE’s Emergency Coordinator.

“The children are traumatized by the earthquake and parents are also asking for psychosocial support,” added Sanica.

Community officials report that 673 families are affected in that village alone while 579 houses were heavily damaged in Tongonan village also in Ormoc. In Lake Danao community, 80% of the houses were also damaged.

CARE and partners will continue to assess upland communities in Ormoc that are landslide prone.

CARE has been operating in Leyte since 2013 supporting communities heavily affected by Typhoon Haiyan. CARE has established partnerships with local non-government organizations in Eastern Visayas region that also specialize in emergency response.

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Jessie Thomson
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