Hundreds of aftershocks rock northern Philippines following 6.4-magnitude quake

Jojo Riñoza
2022.10.26
Dagupan, Philippines
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Hundreds of aftershocks rock northern Philippines following 6.4-magnitude quake Patients are evacuated from a hospital in Ilocos Norte province in the Philippines following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, Oct. 25, 2022.
Philippine Bureau of Fire Protection handout via Reuters

Hundreds of aftershocks from a 6.4-magnitude earthquake have kept some residents in the northern Philippines from returning to their homes, the national disaster agency spokesman said Wednesday.

The quake, which struck at 11 p.m. Tuesday, injured dozens of people and damaged schools, churches and other buildings, authorities said. It was felt in varying intensities in nearly100 towns and cities in several northern Philippine provinces.

This was the second quake to hit the region in three months, and its epicenter was just northeast of Lagayan town in Abra, a landlocked province in the main island of Luzon, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported. Phivolcs had recorded more than 450 aftershocks, ranging from magnitude of 1.4 to 4.8, as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Of course Secretary Tulfo is there in Ilocos Norte to personally assess the situation, and based on the requirement, we are sending more tents to augment their resources,” disaster agency spokesman Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV said, referring to Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo. “Many of the people who live there are afraid to return to their homes, because for one, the assessment of the structures is ongoing, and secondly, there are still aftershocks.”

There have been no reports of deaths so far, although military and government officials on the ground said 36 people were injured – 26 in the province of Ilocos Norte and the rest in Abra. 

Capt. Rigor Pamitan, spokesman for the 5th Infantry Division in the region, told reporters that about 40 homes were partially or totally destroyed in at least two towns in Abra, while several schools and historic buildings elsewhere in the province suffered damage. 

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The Iglesia Filipina Independiente Church is seen after being damaged by Tuesday’s quake, in La Paz town, Abra province, Philippines, Oct. 26, 2022. [Parish priest Christian Edward Padua Facebook via AFP]

“Our clearing operations are ongoing, especially the roads, which cracked and had holes,” Pamitan said, adding that the belfry at the Iglesias Filipina Independiente Church in the town of La Paz suffered heavy damage. 

Lt. Col. Elmar Salvador, a spokesman for the military’s Northern Luzon Command, said the 26 injured individuals in Ilocos Norte were from the cities of Batac and Laoag and the towns of San Nicolas, Dingras, Marcos, and Badoc.

Alejandro, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman, said authorities are seeking to validate claims of additional injuries.

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A woman takes photos of a classroom damaged by Tuesday night’s earthquake in Pulot National High School in Lagayan, Abra province, Philippines, Oct. 26, 2022. [Ralf Jo Largo handout via AFP]

“In terms of damaged houses, there is information coming in, but the number is low because the assessment is currently ongoing. Our field units are on the ground doing necessary assessment and field validation,” Alejandro said. 

“This is developing. We are still getting more reports as we speak, so the numbers that we now have will change. But in terms of casualties, we have zero dead.”

The Philippines sits on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, which is frequently struck by quakes, some of which are devastating. In July, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the same province, Abra, killing 11 people and injuring at least 600 others.

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