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2 killed in magnitude 7.4 Hinatuan earthquake —OCD-CARAGA

The death toll due to the magnitude 7.4 earthquake that jolted Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur on Saturday evening has increased to two, Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Caraga director Liza Mazo said Monday.

“‘Yung reported kagabi ni Gov. Pimentel may dalawang death. Although ina-assess natin, meron naman tayong management of the dead and missing na cluster… Sabi ni Gov. may dalawa reported, may isa sa Bislig due to collapsed walls and isa rin sa Barobo,” Mazo said in a public briefing.

(Gov. Pimentel reported that there were two deaths. Although we are still assessing, we have a management of the dead and missing cluster... Gov. said. there are two reported deaths, one in Bislig due to collapsed walls, and one in Barobo.)

She said that nine individuals were also injured but were not in a critical situation.

The magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, on Saturday evening, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.

A mother reportedly died in Tagum City, Davao del Norte following the strong earthquake after a wall of a collapsed house fell over her. She was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

According to Mazo, the situation in Surigao del Sur is “manageable” after the earthquake.

“For now, it’s manageable. We think that the local government units mismo ng province ng Surigao del Sur at ang local government units nila ang maayos ang response. Maganda ang leadership ng province at ng mga munisipyo,” she said.

(For now, it's manageable. We think that the provincial government of Surigao del Sur and their local government units are the ones who responded properly. The leadership of the province and the municipalities is good.)

She said there were 102 houses that were totally damaged, while 743 houses were partially damaged.

Power and water supplies in the province have also been restored.

Several schools in 12 municipalities in Surigao del Sur have also suspended classes.

Meanwhile, strong aftershocks forced thousands of residents to stay in evacuation centers, disaster officials said on Monday.

"We are scared up to now because of the aftershocks," Alex Arana, disaster agency chief of Surigao del Sur, told Super Radyo dzBB.

His coastal province was closest to the epicentre of the magnitude 7.4 earthquake, which struck late on Saturday and was followed by aftershocks. It was also the most damaged area.

As of late on Sunday, more than 108,000 people were staying in 115 evacuation centres in Surigao del Sur, government data show.

As to evacuees, Mazo said some are still staying in multi-purpose halls and barangay halls, while others are staying with their relatives.

She said food and non-food items were already distributed to affected residents, and emergency shelter kits were provided for those with damaged houses.

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake, with a depth of 1 km (0.62 mile), also struck Mindanao in the early hours of Monday, the Philippine seismology agency reported.

It was not part of the magnitude 7.4 quake and about 1,700 aftershocks, officials said.

"We get dizzy from tremors every so often. We choose to stay here at the evacuation centre for now," Susan Clor, a resident of Hinatuan town in Surigao del Sur, told GMA television station.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the "Ring of Fire", a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.—with Reuters/AOL, GMA Integrated News