• BOHOL, SAMAR IN THE DARK

    2 dead, 72 injured in Leyte quake

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    THE magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck Jaro, Leyte on Thursday left at least two people dead, 72 injured and parts of the Visayas without power, disaster authorities said on Friday.

    ANOTHER TRAGEDY Residents rescued from a collapsed building rest in a makeshift clinic after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit the town of Kananga in Leyte. At least two people were reported killed and 72 were injured, while parts of the Visayas were hit by blackouts following the strong quake. AFP PHOTO

    Tragedy struck the region that is only beginning to recover from the devastation caused by super typhoon

    “Yolanda” and a massive quake that destroyed heritage churches in 2013.

    In a news briefing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said two people were killed, one after a three-story building collapsed in Kananga, Leyte, while 72 others were injured.

    The circumstances of the other fatality were unclear as some reports said he was a victim in a landslide while another claimed that he was the second fatality in the collapsed building.

    The NDRRMC identified the two fatalities as Gerry Movilla, 40 and Rhissa Rosales, 19.

    Of the total injured, 43 were from Kananga; three from Ormoc City; and 26 from Carigara town of Leyte, the NDRRMC said.

    Six were rescued from the collapsed building in Kananga and were identified as Marian Superales, Jevy Omulon, Aina Nicole Geraldez, Sancho Geraldez, Edgar Cabahug and Irene Flores.

    The NDRRMC also said that aside from the three-storey commercial establishment in Barangay Poblacion, Kananga, two classrooms of Bienvenido Celebre National High School in Barangay Uguiao, Jaro sustained cracks on the walls.

    Kananga was one of the hardest hit by the quake, prompting local officials to declare a state of calamity.

    Vice Mayor Elmer Codilla of Kananga said the local government had P2.7 million in calamity funds that it could use to help the victims of the quake.

    Codilla said authorities decided to stop rescue operations in the commercial establishment after everyone there had been accounted for.

    Blackouts

    The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGRCP) said parts of the Visayas were without power after some of its grids sustained damage from the quake.

    Affected were Bohol, the Samar islands and Southern Leyte when the Ormoc high-voltage direct current
    transmission line and substation were damaged by the 4 p.m. quake on Thursday, the NGCP said.

    Because of the power deficiency from these lines, Leyte, Cebu, Negros and Panay may also experience occasional power interruptions, the power grid operator said.

    The NGCP said six line gangs were mobilized to temporarily restore power to its grids. Another line gang was sent to the Kananga Switchyard, owned by the Energy Development Corp., that would allow the Tabango Substation to provide power to the substation of Ormoc, one of the areas hit hard by the earthquake.

    The NGCP added that it was also working to straighten a tower that was found leaning on the Ormoc-Togonan 138-kilovolt line.

    The NGCP’s Cebu-Leyte submarine cable and its Tabango Substation in Leyte continue to transmit power to Leyte Electric Cooperative V, the power distribution utility that serves the municipalities of Tabango, San Isidro, and Villaba.

    The NGCP also said it was conducting aerial and ground patrols to inspect and assess areas affected by the earthquake.

    Meanwhile, Malacanang assured Leyte quake victims that the province would “rise again.”

    In a statement, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella assured residents that help was on the way and appealed for calm.

    WITH CATHERINE VALENTE AND VOLTAIRE PALANA

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