World | Philippines

Quake's death toll breaches 100

The death toll of the 6.9 magnitude quake reached 105 on Friday

  • By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 20:08 February 10, 2012
  • Gulf News

Manila: The death toll of the 6.9 magnitude quake reached 105 on Friday, including 71 whose bodies were not yet recovered from two landslides-hit villages in Negros Oriental, central Philippines last Monday, a senior official said.

"Eight more bodies were found in several affected villages in Negros Oriental, raising to 34 the total number of people who were confirmed dead," said Undersecretary Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), adding that the number of missing in the landslides that buried 42 in Solonggon village, La Libertad, and 29 others in Planas village, Guihulngan (in Negros Oriental), has not changed.

To hasten the recovery of more bodies, Vice President Jejomar Binay promised to send to Negros Oriental two dogs and four handlers from the Philippine Search and Rescue Foundation.

At the same time, Makati City's K9/Rescue Unit, equipped with a search camera and portable hydraulic equipment, will also be sent to Negros Oriental, to help in the recovery of bodies, said Binay.

So far, only one body was found in La Libertad's landslide, a rescuer said in a radio interview, adding the stench of rotting flesh has started to rise from the two landslide-hit areas.

It is a sign that the retrieval of survivors has remained slim, the same source added.

Meanwhile, the number of people who were affected by the quake rose to 21,076 families or 93,397 people in 106 villages, seven municipalities, two cities and one province in region VII, said Ramos, NDRRMC's chief.

Government agencies such as the departments of social welfare and health have been serving 6,572 families or 32,860 people in 21 evacuation centres; and 11,147 other families or 55,715 people outside of evacuation centres, said Ramos.

About 1,411 houses in heavily affected areas were totally destroyed; 1,566 other homes were partially damaged, said Ramos.

Initial cost of damages was placed at P 265.7 million (Dh 22 million), said Ramos, but added the amount could go higher as government workers reach other heavily affected areas that were isolated by the quake.

Council members declared a state of calamity in Guihulngan. Local government leaders have yet to declare a state of calamity in La Libertad.

Heavily affected areas in Negros Oriental continue to suffer power outages, lack of water supply, and erratic telecommunication lines, said Ramos.

"We need food and water," Vice Mayor Emmanuel Iway of La Libertad pleaded on TV.

Rescuers and workers giving relief assistance complained that they could not do their job properly because of blocked roads and impassable bridges.

About 17 bridges, including 14 in Guihulngan, two in La Libertad, and one in Jimalalud were damaged by the quake, NRRDMC's regional office said.

The Philippines is part of Asia Pacific's "Ring of Fire" where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

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