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OCD: Keep off houses damaged by earthquake

By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
Correspondent .

MADRID, Surigao del Sur – Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council has ordered the municipal disaster management councils here and in the towns of Cantilan and Carmen to keep people out of their damaged houses until the structural evaluation has been finalized.

A backhoe is used to remove debris from a school property damaged as a result of Saturday’s magnitude 5.5 earthquake at the Esperanza Integrated School in Carmen, Surigao del Sur. (photo by Erwin M. Mascarinas)

Liza Mazo, Office of Civil Defense regional director and chairperson of RDRRMC, said she has been receiving reports that residents continued to stay in their houses that were damaged in Saturday’s magnitude 5.5 tremblor.

“The fact that there is a crack or their walls and other parts of the house has collapsed or gave way to gravity, it is not safe to stay,” said Mazo.

Mazo emphasized that the dangers of the constant aftershocks will eventually further weaken the structural integrity of these houses.

“No place for complacency at a time like this. These safety precautions should not be compromised by our local government units in the affected areas,” Mazo said.

Mazo said that as of Monday, only the towns of Carmen and Carrascal have submitted their reports on the total number of houses and buildings damaged by the earthquake. She said her office has yet to receive the reports of the towns of Cantilan and Madrid.

Based on the data from RDRRMC as of  Monday, 51 people were injured across Surigao del Sur. Some 315 houses were damaged, of which 240 houses are in Carmen while 74 houses are in Carrascal.

For his part, Engr. Ale Boy Duero of the Cantilan town governmentsaid their initial assessment suggests that there is no need to declare a state of calamity.

“So far, there is no immediate need to declare a state of calamity but this may change depending on the final results of the assessment,” Duero said.

Duero said almost all of the barangays of Cantilan were affected by the tremblor adding that they have consolidated only about 50 percent of assessment in Cantilan.

He said they hope to finish the damage assessment by this week.

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