DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Davao de Oro provincial government has placed the province under a state of calamity due to the impact of a series of earthquakes since March 6, which local officials said affected more than 200,000 families.
The official declaration allowed the capitol to use its reserved funds for disaster response and relief operations.
The provincial board unanimously approved Resolution No.0556-2023 on Saturday, March 11, to initiate critical, urgent, and appropriate disaster risk reduction programs, and ensure funds are released to mitigate the earthquakes’ impact.
The resolution was recommended by Davao de Oro’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Based on the Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis reports submitted by various local governments, the earthquakes, which occurred from March 6 to 8, affected at least 194,057 households with 229,647 families.
Damage to power lines, roads, and other vital infrastructure in the province was pegged at P196,847,161, excluding the cost of damage to over 160 schools and other facilities.
Based on a report from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Davao Region released during the Kapihan sa Dabaw on Monday, March 13, some 6,720 families or about 31,120 people have been affected in the seven municipalities of Davao de Oro alone.
As of March 12, about 1,875 families or 7,715 individuals were still staying in 25 evacuation centers, while there were 2,536 families, or 12,610 staying outside the evacuation centers.
The DSWD said it has provided food and non-food items, including family food packs, modular tents, sleeping kits, and assistance amounting to more than P22 million to the affected families.
On March 6 and 8, light to moderate-magnitude earthquakes shook Davao de Oro and other provinces in Eastern Mindanao.
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake, classified as very strong by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), was felt in the municipalities of Maco, Maragusan, Mawab, and New Bataan.
Phivolcs has monitored 1,278 aftershocks ranging from 1.5 to 5.9 magnitudes.
The town governments of New Bataan and Maragusan declared their municipalities under a state of calamity on March 8 and 9, respectively. (originally posted on rappler.com)
Lucelle Bonzo is an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellow.