Batangas City, Philippines – The frightened residents of Batangas sought for safety in public parks and higher ground on Saturday, April 8, as twin earthquakes danced the province.
Some medical facilities were evacuated, while the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City was temporarily closed to the general public ahead of Holy Week following the earthquakes.
The twin quakes – which happened just 4 days after a 5.5 magnitude earthquake rocked the same area – damaged building establishments and brought panicked tourists to flee a popular dive resort at Mabini town in Batangas, the earthquakes’ epicenter, officials and eyewitnesses said.
There were no instantaneous reports of casualties from the earthquakes, the strongest of which hit the coast close to Mabini, a resort town south of National Capital Region (NCR) famous for its marine life and coral reefs.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) sated that a magnitude 5.6 earthquake first hit at 3:07 P.M., off Mabini, Batangas. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), meanwhile, recorded it at 5.7. Saturday’s earthquakes were caused by the movement of a local fault, the Phivolcs Renato Solidum said.
The initial earthquake was then followed by an aftershock magnitude 6.0 earth tremor at around 3:09 P.M., with the epicentres also in the same area, per Phivolcs. USGS earlier mentioned that the second shake had a magnitude of 5.9.
Batangas Provincial Governor Hermilando Mandanas said in an interview that more people in the said province were terrorized in the latest quakes as these were significantly stronger than the one they felt on last week. The quakes also caused a power interruption in the city, as well as in some part of the Luzon, which was not the case in the last week’s quake.
The Camp Netanya Resort situated on Mabini town suffered some minor damages. One of the its building walls collapsed, damaging a few parked vehicles. “I was in the pool taking diving lessons when the ground shook….We all climbed out and ran. Concrete slabs were falling,” Filipino tourist Arnel Casanova from a Mabini dive resort told the media.
“When I went back to my room the ceiling had collapsed and the glass windows were broken, but so far everybody is safe,” Casanova added.
Mr. Casanova stated that the resort guests remained outside the damaged premises more than an hour later as the area was shaken by an aftershocks.
The earthquakes caused landslides which blocked a couple of national roads and damaged an old church, a hospital and a number of houses in Mabini, local officials said in a report.
Mabini Mayor Noel Luistro said that he expected at least 3,000 residents to move inland in case of following aftershocks, although the Phivolcs said there was no threat of tsunamis.
The earthquakes caused power outages across the CALABARZON region but caused no casualties, Romina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
In NCR, where the earthquake was also been experienced, people were seen running out of building establishments in Makati City – the business district of the country. Several condominium buildings were also temporarily evacuated.
The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of the globe’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions arise. — Velvetiere.com