Quake destroys 10 houses in S. Leyte town

By Jolene Bulambot, Jani Arnaiz, Joey A. Gabieta
Last updated 02:02am (Mla time) 07/21/2007

HINUNANGAN, SOUTHERN LEYTE —An Intensity 6 earthquake rocked Hinunangan town at 11:10 p.m. Thursday causing damages estimated to reach millions of pesos.


Hinunangan Vice Mayor Esterlita Demiao said the damage could reach P50 million since there were major cracks in the municipal buildings, police station, roads, bridges and water facilities, including the Magata Dam.


The facade of the St. Peter and Paul Church, the town’s parish church, was also cordoned off because the church’s belfry tower, which cracked during the earthquake, might collapse.


Two girls, aged seven and eight, from Barangay Patong, and a 20-year-old female from Barangay Salvacion, were injured at the height of the earthquake.


At least 10 houses were destroyed. The estimated damage to houses and appliances reached more than P1 million, the vice mayor said.


The tremor also created two three-meter deep sinkholes that were spewing muddied water that smelled of sulfur in Barangays Badiangon and Sto. Niño, according to Procesa Cruz, executive assistant to Mayor Romeo Gomez.


Gomez said he would ask the Bureau of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to investigate the sinkholes.


Cruz said the fence of the Sto. Niño Central Elementary school also collapsed. The railings of the bridge in Barangay Das-ay, located 3 km from the town proper, also fell into the river. The water system was cut after a major pipeline broke, she said.


Myra Dolina, of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Tacloban City, said the epicenter was located at 10.37 degrees north and 125.15 degrees east of Maasin City, or about 7 km southwest of Hinunangan town.


According to the Phivolcs website, an Intensity 6 earthquake is very strong. It could cause slight damage to very old or poorly built houses and manmade structures.


The nearby town of St. Bernard, where the entire village of Guinsaugon Village was buried by a landslide in February last year killing almost 1,000 residents, also experienced an Intensity 5 quake. The quake stood at Intensity 5 and 4 in Maasin City and Sogod.


Demiao said aftershocks continued. She said the municipal council would convene on Monday to declare a state of calamity in the area.


“Many of us here would not want to sleep at night for fear another earthquake would hit us,” she said.


This was the second time an earthquake hit the town in a span of a month.


Last June 14 an Intensity 5 earthquake also hit the town and adjoining areas.


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