THE death toll from the deadly earthquake that devastated central Philippines on Tuesday climbed to 171, and could still rise because 20 people were still missing as of Friday.
Damage to infrastructure in the provinces of Bohol and Cebu exceeded half a billion pesos.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management (NDRRM) on Friday said that of the P563.6 million initial assessment on damaged roads, bridges and flood control, P546.010 million was in Bohol and P17.65 million in Cebu.
NDRRMC spokesman Rey Balido said 35 bridges in Cebu, Bohol and Negros Occidental were damaged by the earthquake.
Twenty-two of the bridges remain impassable and three hardly passable.
Balido said five roads remain impassable and one hardly passable.
Seaport and airport operations were back to normal, and power has been restored in 12 out of 47 municipalities in Bohol.
Balido said 375 people were injured in the quake.
Of the confirmed dead, 159 were in Bohol, 11 in Cebu and one in Siquijor.
All the 20 missing are from Bohol.
The magnitude 7.2 tremor was felt as far northeast as the Bicol region and as far south as Davao City and Zamboanga.
Worst hit were Bohol and Cebu, which were both placed under a state of calamity that allowed the provincial governments to tap into their calamity funds for disaster response.
The military has been deployed in force to help in relief efforts.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, chief, Public Affairs Office, AFP, said water sanitation teams were sent to Bohol and Cebu to ease water shortages in evacuation areas.
The Army and Navy teams were equipped with water purifiers capable of converting unsanitized water into potable water of up to 32,000 liters per hour, Zagala said.
Three Navy ships sailed from Manila on Friday to transport relief goods.
Earlier, an Air Force C-130 plane transported 25,000 pounds of relief goods from Manila to Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital.
A contingent of 48 officers and 511 soldiers from the Second Special Forces Battalion and 53rd Engineering Brigade joined search and retrieval operations in Bohol and Cebu.
The AFP Central Command also deployed a total of 233 trucks for clearing, evacuation and other humanitarian missions in the badly hit areas. Five helicopters conducted damage assessment and transport operations.
Also deployed in the stricken areas are the Naval Reserve Eastern Visayas, Bohol Ready Reserve Battalion, and the 505th TAS Group.
The Philippine Coast Guard was also involved in the relief effort.
Rear Admiral Luis Tuason Jr., Coast Guard vice commandant for operations, said the BRP-Corregidor (AE-891) and the 35-meter search and rescue vessel BRP-Romblon (SARV-3502) were sent to Bohol to deliver more than 10,000 sacks of family food packs provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in cooperation with USAID and the World Food Program.
Tuason said Coast Guard will be sending K-9 units to look for people who could still be trapped in the ruins of destroyed houses and buildings.
William B. Depasupil And Fatima Cielo B. Cancel