Manila: Two more people were found dead, raising to four the number of fatalities after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit central Philippines’ Leyte that sent several levels of intense shaking to nearby areas on Thursday, officials said.
A “leg amputee” was killed in a landslide in Ormoc City (near Leyte). The body of an unidentified person was also found in Ormoc City, Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez, a former actor, told Gulf News in a phone interview.
Gerry Movilla, 40, died while attending a meeting for social beneficiaries at the function room on the third floor of the New Town Grocery building in Poblacion village, Kananga town which collapsed on July 6. Rhissa Rosales, 19, was buried when her house collapsed on Cabaunan village, Ormoc City on July 6, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in a report in Manila
The number of fatalities could further increase. Only eight of the 13 who were buried under the collapsed building were rescued on July 6, Kananga Vice-Mayor Elmer Codilla said in a report sent to the department of interior and local government (DILG) in suburban Quezon City on Saturday. About 100 were injured, the report added.
Rescuers drilled a hole and put in a vacuum ventilator on top of the collapsed building to allow air to flow underneath. “We have given them (bottled) water. We hope for more survivors,” said Codilla.
Rescued at eight in the evening of July 6 (four hours after the quake occurred) were Nerissa Superales, cashier of New Town Grocery; customer Jovelyn Omolon, 29, her children, Aina Nicole Geraldez, 7 and Sancho Geraldez, 4. The location of Superales was immediately identified because she kept texting her brother, Police officer Rodel Superales. Four more were rescued at past 10 p.m of July 6, Codilla said.
A hundred policemen and volunteers from local government units are helping in the search and rescue operation on the collapsed building. Built in 2006, the ill-fated New Town Grocery building houses a grocery and a hardware on the ground floor, a small hotel on the second floor, and a function room on the third floor.
“Investigation will follow,” warned Kananga Mayor Rowena Codilla who declared a state of calamity in the hard-hit town of 50,000 farmers.
Cracked walls were reported in two classrooms of Bienvenido Celebre National High School in Uguiao village, Jaro, Leyte. Landslides occurred because of cracks at the highway of Vilaba town in Leyte. Landslides were also reported in Hiluktugan village, Carigara town, said the NDRRMC.
Ormoc airport’s runway was damaged; airline firms cancelled flight to Ormoc City, lamented Mayor Gomez. But Leyte’s airports were not damaged, he said.
Aftershocks are making residents tense. “People upland in Ormoc stayed out of their homes because of the aftershocks. We have been sending them packed food,” said Mayor Gomez.
A grade four storm Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,000 dead in central Philippines in November 2013. The Philippines is part of Asia-Pacific’s Ring of Fire where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur regularly. A 7.2-magnitude tremor left 222 people dead, 796 injured, and damaged historic churches in Bohol and Cebu, central Philippines on October 15, 2013. Earlier, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake left 1,666 dead, 1,000 missing, and 3,000 injured in northern Luzon on July 16, 1990.