A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the mountainous province of Abra at 8.43 a.m. local time on July 27, causing landslides and the collapse of structures. The tectonic epicenter was in the town of Teum, Abra (17.64°N, 120.63°E – 003 kmN 45°W) at a depth of 17 km, with the earthquake being felt to varying degrees across northern Luzon including the metropolitan metro. Manila.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reports that around 15,300 people are currently displaced, with IDPs in 43 evacuation centers or being hosted by families/friends in Abra, Ilocos Sur, Kalinga, Benguet and Mountain counties. . About 11,100 of these IDPs are in Abra Governorate, where traumatized local residents camped outside their homes as the earthquake was followed by more than 1,000 aftershocks with a maximum of 5.0. The government also confirmed the killing of six people and the injury of 136 others.
Based on the latest government assessment report, more than 5,200 homes have been damaged or destroyed in the Cordillera and Ilocos regions, and the numbers are expected to rise as teams reach some remote and mountainous areas. Damage has also been reported in 33 health facilities such as hospitals (10), rural health units (11), Barangay health stations (11) and the city health office. Some 57 schools reported damage, with 150 classrooms either destroyed or damaged. At least 33 road networks leading to the Cordillera and Ilocos regions have been affected by landslides and fissures, and 14 of these remain impassable for vehicles as clearance operations are still in progress.
On July 28, the Abra County government declared a state of disaster with the resolution requesting immediate assistance from the national government for disaster response, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction support.
The Bureau of Meteorology is monitoring the development of a low pressure area 1,000 kilometers east of Luzon. The weather system is expected to intensify in the tropical depressions category, which will enhance the southwest monsoon and cause rains in the earthquake affected areas which may lead to landslides and obstruct relief operations.
The government has launched a full response with provincial/local authorities leading the relief effort while the national government works to increase local capacity. On a visit to Abra Province on July 28, the Philippine president tasked response agencies with meeting urgent needs for shelter, food and water. Ensuring rapid road evacuation and bridge repair so that people can access services within and outside their communities; restoration of energy and communication at the family level; and assessing the structural integrity of critical buildings such as hospitals, schools, and residential buildings/homes.
DSWD provided 10,000 family food packages and non-food items (hygiene items, sleeping and kitchen items) to augment the resources of its field offices in the Cordillera and Ilocos regions. It also facilitated the release of an additional $270,000 to the concerned regional units to cover additional food and non-food items needs. Cash assistance of between $100 and $200 will also be provided to support shelter repair. The Civil Defense Office (OCD) also deployed 540 tarpaulins, 1,500 hygiene kits and several non-food items in the hardest-hit Abra district.
The Health Department provided the local hospital in Abra with tents, beds, hygiene kits and various medicines. The Philippine Emergency Medical Assistance Team, which aspires to designate the WHO Emergency Medical Team, will also deploy to support existing human health resources in Abra.
The government search and rescue and recovery group led by the Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed 19 urban search and rescue teams from army, police and fire brigade Currently, no request for international assistance has been made as the government capabilities are sufficient to respond to humanitarian needs.
Coordination and response to humanitarian partners
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continues to coordinate with national authorities as well as humanitarian partners to determine the impact of the earthquake. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also requested UNOSAT to activate the Space Charter for satellite imagery of affected areas, while a joint disaster vulnerability analysis was released through the joint efforts of the Pacific Disaster Center, OCHA and WFP. Capacity building project of the year with the Department of Social and Urban Development (DSWD) and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, funded by the USAID Office of Humanitarian Assistance on Emergency Response and Shelter Solutions, pre-positioned 10,000 tarpaulins in DSWD national repositories. Under this project, 3,000 tarpaulins will be delivered to assist the government in the response.
As co-lead of the Logistics Cluster, WFP provided two trucks to OCD to deliver various relief items to Abra. Shelter group members also deploy structural engineers to perform post-earthquake inspection of critical buildings and apartment buildings.
A rapid assessment of impact and needs will be conducted by an inter-agency team consisting of IOM, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP staff with technical expertise in camp coordination and camp management, shelter, WASH, health/ Mental health and psychosocial support, protection and early recovery. Several agencies with development programs in place in affected areas — such as AAH, ADRA, Care, CDRC, CRS, Habitat for Humanity, HI, Oxfam and World Vision — will also conduct needs assessments in the coming days.
The Philippine Red Cross and its local branches have deployed teams in response to search and rescue and medical assistance operations. Together with their volunteers, the Red Cross has also provided hot meals, water, hygiene and sleeping kits and face masks at evacuation centres.
The privately led Philippine Disaster Response Foundation member companies are also supporting the government’s response by distributing relief packages, providing fuel, deploying water tanks, and providing free mobile calls, Wi-Fi and charging stations.
Disclaimer United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs To learn more about the activities of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.
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