By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
A MAGNITUDE 5.1 earthquake shook areas in Caraga, rousing people from sleep, and sending them to panic and out of their homes past midnight yesterday.
Data from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) showed the earthquake struck at around 12:34 am. The epicenter was five kilometers southwest of San Francisco town in Surigao del Norte. It had an eight-kilometer depth of focus.
The strong quake was not the first. Hours earlier, at around 3:53 pm on Tuesday, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake jolted the same area. It was felt in San Francisco and Surigao City.
Surigao City Schools Division superintendent Gilda Berte ordered classes suspended in Surigao City.
Affected were pre-schoolers, elementary graders up to senior high school students in all public schools of Surigao City.
Berte’s order was meant to facilitate school building assessments, and for fear of aftershocks.
The fear of aftershocks and a tsunami sent a few families from coastal areas to higher grounds at the Surigao del Norte capitol.
Yesterday’s earthquake caused destruction and damages. A tricycle and a Multicab were destroyed after a concrete wall of a warehouse collapsed at Nueva Extension, Surigao City.
Some glass windows were shattered in several government and commercial buildings throughout the city.
In San Francisco, an old building at the San Nicolas High School in Barangay Anao-aon collapsed.
No one was reported hurt.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office is assessing the damages at presstime.
“The strong earthquake woke us up from our sleep. We panicked,” said Samantha Espanto a resident of Barangay Ipil, Surigao City.
Espanto said the situation was aggravated because the earthquake resulted in a black out. “We had to move in the dark while trying to get out of the house.”