MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – State seismologists have recorded at least 902 aftershocks as of Tuesday noon, since a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the Negros-Cebu region on Monday.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said 57 of these aftershocks were felt.
Phivolcs Executive Director Solidum said more aftershocks may be recorded in the coming days. He explained such occurrences are normal after a major earthquake.
The strongest aftershock recorded so far has a magnitude of 6.2. It was recorded at 6:10 p.m. on Monday.
Phivolcs Deputy Director Bart Bautista, meanwhile, said the trend in Phivolcs data suggests that the strength of the upcoming aftershocks are going to weaken.
“Kung titignan ang trend ganoon ang magiging sitwasyon, mababa ang probability na magkaroon pa ng serious activity,” Bautista said.
Death toll, damage
Latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the quake has claimed at least 15 lives.
Two of the fatalities came from the town of Tayasan; 2 from Jimalalud; 9 from Guihulngan City; 1 from Bindoy and 1 from Bais City.
Guihulngan Mayor Ernesto Reyes, however, confirmed that 29 more individuals died after being buried in Barangay Planas.
Fifty-two individuals (52), on the other hand, got injured.
The coastal towns of La Libertad and Tayasan, and the city of Guihulngan bore the brunt of the earthquake.
The bridges of Tinayunan in Guihulngan City; Matoog in Tayasan; and Martelo in La Libertad were rendered impassable due to structural damage caused by the quake.
Bautista said the lack of high-rise structures in Negros Oriental kept the loss of life in the area at a minimum.
“Isang factor na tinitignan natin, hindi pa highly-built ang lugar na pinangyarihan, compared dito sa Metro Manila, kakaunti ang bulding na made of concrete na medyo mataas,” he said.
Minda Morante of the Office of Civil Defense – Region 7 is asking for more relief goods from the government and volunteers, especially for the affected residents of the coastal towns of Negros Oriental.
Morante said some residents need tents where they can stay while waiting for the situation to become stable.
She noted some families are afraid to go back to their homes for fear of another quake. Some families have no homes to go back to after they were destroyed by the tremors.
Classes in the entire Region 7, which is comprised of the provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and Bohol, were also suspended Tuesday to give way for inspection of the structural integrity of school buildings. - with reports from dzMM, ANC