Visayas quake death toll nears 200
— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) October 23, 2013
MANILA - At least 198 people have been killed by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the Visayas, disaster management officials said Wednesday.
A total of 651 others were injured and 11 remain missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
The quake that shook the tourist island of Bohol and nearby Cebu toppled bridges, shattered roads, caused landslides, and reduced historic churches to rubble.
It killed 185 people in Bohol alone.
President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday returned to quake-ravaged Bohol province to check ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts.
He was briefed by local and national government officials on ongoing rehabilitation and relief efforts in the island-province.
Loon Mayor Lloyd Peter Lopez told the President that the quake killed 60 people in the town, with two others still missing. Another 144 were injured.
He added that almost all school buildings in Loon have been destroyed, with the extent of the devastation still being assessed.
He said the quake affected 44,107 people in the town, and at least 18 vital installations were destroyed.
Six villages in the town have also become isolated and are accessible only by foot or motorcycle. He said food and water have been sent to the areas.
"Food, water, tents have been distributed in all Loon barangays... this is still ongoing," Lopez said. "Food, water remain as most important need."
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, meanwhile, said 37 bridges were damaged by the quake and 3 bridges were left impassable.
Aquino said the urgent task of government is how to get affected families back to their homes amid the coming colder months.
He urged local government units and nongovernment organizations to focus their efforts in getting people back to their homes to achieve normalcy in their lives as early as possible. - with ANC