Strongest in 11 years

QUAKE AFTERMATH. Leyte and several parts of Eastern Visayas experienced a strong tremor on Friday evening which resulted in two women injured. Photo shows items falling from shelves in a store in Tacloban City. (TACLOBAN TODAY)

TACLOBAN CITY-A 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled several parts of the region on Friday evening (May 3) with no major damages reported though two women were hurt.

In Abuyog town, the epicenter of the 6:16 pm jolt, while it was felt at Intensity 5, there were no damages or injuries reported, the local police said.

“There were no reports of damages or individuals hurt due to the earthquake,” a police official, who declined to be named not being authorized, said in a phone interview.
“But it was quite a strong quake,” the police officer added.

The earthquake was located about 36 kms northeast of Abuyog town which was of tectonic in origin, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

The Phivolcs, which earlier placed the tremor at 6.0 magnitude but later downgraded it to 5.8, has reported that aftershocks continue to be felt with Abuyog as the epicenter.

These aftershocks range in magnitude from 1.8 to 3.5.

In Dulag, also Leyte, panic ensued among residents resulting in two women getting hurt, Leah Maasin, the municipal disaster risk reduction management officer, said in a phone interview.

“It was the strongest quake that we have experienced since 2013,” she said, referring to the 7.2 magnitude quake that hit Eastern Visayas on October 15 on that year.

She reported that two persons, one a 26-year-old pregnant woman and another 27-year-old woman were hurt due to the quake.

The 26-year-old pregnant woman fainted and fell down a stair in a department store at the town center where she works.

Another 27-year-old woman sustained injuries to her left leg after jumping from the second floor of the same establishment.

“The pregnant woman was brought to the rural health center while the other injured person chose to return home,” Maasin said.

Residents of the town’s nine coastal villages, namely, San Jose, San Rafael, Luan, Buntay, Sungi, Sabang, Daguitan, Catmonan, and Rizal, abandoned their homes out of fear of a possible tsunami and sought higher and safer places minutes after the quake.

“But by 7:30 pm, we have lifted the order and for them to return to their respective homes,” Maasin said.

Maasin also said that based on their initial assessment, some cracks were observed in some establishments including their municipal building.

“But these are still subject to assessment by our engineering department if these cracks are significant or not,” she said.

But Maasin said that there is an order from Mayor Joy Sia Que for further assessment, particularly on public structures in the aftermath of the tremor.

“The mayor issued a directive for assessment of all public structures to determine damages and to maintain contact within barangays for any report or assistance they might need,” she said.

In Tacloban City, the quake was also felt at Intensity 4 which also caused people to panic.
Joel Morante, who works in one of the biggest shopping establishments located within the city’s downtown area, said that the customers who were inside at the time the earth shook panicked.

“There were shouting everywhere with people running out to get out of the store. Some of our items were scattered on the floor due to the quake,” he said.

Morante, however, said that no one was injured due to the quake.

Intensity 5 in the towns of Abuyog, Burauen, Dulag, La Paz, Macarthur, Mahaplag, Tabontabon, and Tolosa in Leyte; and Hinunangan, Hinundayan, and Silago, Southern Leyte.

Other places in the region and even outside Eastern Visayas also felt the 5.8 quake: Intensity 4 in Jagna town in Bohol; Borongan City and the towns of Balangiga, General Macarthur, Giporlos, Hernani, Lawaan, Llorente, and Quinapondan in Eastern Samar; the cities of Ormoc and Baybay and the towns of Barugo, Calubian, Dagami, Hilongos, Jaro, Javier, Julita, Kananga, Palo, Pastrana, San Miguel, and Santa Fe in Leyte; Basey town in Samar; and the towns of Bontoc, Malitbog, and Sogod, in Southern Leyte.

Intensity 3 was reported in the city of Tagbilaran, Bohol; Surigao City in Surigao del Norte; and Intensity 2 in Bogo City, Cebu, and Pintuyan town in Southern Leyte.