07 March 2012

5.2 Quake Hits Masbate


One month after a strong tremor jolted Negros Oriental, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Masbate City early Tuesday morning causing injuries to at least eight people. Authorities said one building collapsed while several structures suffered minor cracks following the quake.
Classes were suspended for the day.

In a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), a magnitude 5.2 earthquake of tectonic origin shook the Bicol region around 7:06 a.m. Tuesday.
According to the NDRRMC, intensity 6 was felt in Masbate City, intensity 4 in Irosin and Cabid-an, Sorsogon City; and intensity 2 in Legaspi City, Albay.
Tuesday's earthquake was also felt in some parts of the Visayas region, particularly in Sigma, Capiz; Catarman and Capul Island, Northern Samar; and Almagro and Tagapul-an, Western Samar with intensity 3; Iloilo City with intensity 2, and Kalibo and Numancia in Aklan with intensity 1.
The NDRRMC report identified at least six people who sustained minor injuries following the tremor in Masbate City. They are Rex Davida, 8, of Barangay Bantiqui (foot injury); Cesar Garapal, 31, of Barangay Nursery (head injury); Jinky Asareas, 16, of Barangay Nursery (head injury); Leonard Dimitillar, 3, of Barangay Centro (head injury); Christine Dicos, 17, of Barangay Centro (foot injury), and Jiho Emilio Antonio, 2, of Barangay Bagumbayan (head injury). The victims were brought to the Masbate Provincial Hospital, the NDRRMC said.
As of 12 noon yesterday, the NDRRMC said five aftershocks were recorded since 8:30 a.m.
The NDRRMC emergency operations center was activated and alert status was raised from white to blue in view of the earthquake.
Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils in Bicol and Western Visayas were likewise advised to alert residents near coastal areas for possible evacuation, disseminate quake bulletins and advisories, and continuously monitor the situation in their respective areas.
The earthquake in Masbate occurred one month since a powerful tremor also shook central Visayas, devastating parts of Negros Oriental where more than 50 people died and at least 60 still missing.
The fatalities in Negros Oriental were mostly from the two villages in Guihulngan City and La Libertad town where a landslide triggered by the Feb. 6 tremor buried several houses. Several people have yet to be found from the landslides.
Last March 1, the NDRRMC and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) also initiated a nationwide earthquake drill with Camp Aguinaldo serving as the ceremonial venue.
Aside from Camp Aguinaldo, the drill was also conducted simultaneously in selected schools, establishments, and government and non-government offices in different parts of the country.
AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the earthquake drill scenario envisions a 7.2 magnitude earthquake striking Metro Manila, causing widespread devastation in the National Capital Region (NCR) and greatly damaging Camp Aguinaldo.
The drill was aimed at testing the authorities’ preparedness in responding to strong earthquakes and to assess the evacuation and response plan all concerned agencies and offices.
In a TV interview, Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said they expect more aftershocks as a result of the quake. In fact, he said they had already recorded at least three as of noon yesterday.
“This is not the first time that this strong earthquake was experienced in Masbate City. In 2003, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake was felt by local residents there,” said Solidum.
He said quakes in Masbate are normal due to a six-kilometer fault zone located along the east zone of Masbate.
Solidum warned of more aftershocks following the earthquake.
Solidum advised people to remain calm. “Don’t panic. We must be positive in this kind of situation and we must always be ready. Inspect your houses and structures surrounding your vicinity. Be reminded of the safety precautions and search for open areas to stay during earthquakes,” he said.
Supt. Jeffrey Fernandez, Masbate deputy provincial director, said classes at all levels have already been suspended as precautionary measures against possible damage to the school buildings and aftershocks.
“We have already coordinated with the city government to inspect buildings and other infrastructure because we have been receiving reports that some of the commercial buildings incurred small cracks,” said Fernandez in a phone interview. (With reports from Aaron B. Recuenco, Sarah Hilomen-Velasco, Raymund F. Antonio and Ellalyn B. De Vera)
By ELENA L. ABEN
mb.com.ph

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