Possible aftershocks raise danger in Surigao quake-damaged structures

MANILA-- An expert cautioned against occupying structures damaged by the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that shook Surigao del Norte province Friday night, noting that aftershocks could further harm them.

"People must avoid staying inside and even going near such structures," said science research analyst, Paulo Sawi, of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

He urged such precaution as aftershocks are possible in the following days.

"Owners of the earthquake-damaged structures must have these checked first so repair work can be done," he said.

Phivolcs data show that the tremor struck at 10:03 p.m. Friday, 14 km. north and 78 degrees west of Surigao City at a depth of 11 km.

Sawi said Phivolcs already recorded, as of 5 a.m. Saturday, 89 aftershocks from the underwater earthquake of tectonic origin.

Those aftershocks' magnitudes ranged from 2.0 to 3.9, he noted.

Phivolcs expects forthcoming aftershocks to be of lesser magnitude and generally not destructive.

"Some of those aftershocks may be felt but not at strongintensities," Sawi said.

He however clarified that an aftershock occurring at a shallow depth can further wreak havoc on structures already damaged by the quake.

"People must still prepare for such possibility," he said.

In its situation report 1 released Saturday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the earthquake destroyed a bridge, several establishments and houses in Surigao del Norte, aside from triggering a power outage.

Authorities are working to rescue people reportedly trapped in some of those establishments, the council said.

Phivolcs traced Friday's earthquake to movement in the Philippine Fault Zone (PFZ), a 1,200-km. major tectonic feature transecting the Philippines from northwestern Luzon to southeastern Mindanao.

Two PFZ segments' strike-slip or horizontal movement against each other triggered Friday's earthquake, noted Phivolcs science research specialist, Mylene Enriquez.

She noted such movement did not displace water so there was no tsunami after the earthquake.

"The earthquake's magnitude was insufficient to generate a tsunami," she said.

Earlier, Phivolcs said Friday's earthquake was felt at intensity 6 in Surigao City and Pintuyan, Southern Leyte; intensity 5 in Mandaue City, San Ricardo, Limasawa and San Francisco, Southern Leyte; intensity 4 in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte and Butuan City; intensity 3 in Hibok-Hibok, Camiguin, Tolosa and Tacloban, Leyte, Bislig City,Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental; and intensity 2 in Cagayan de Oro City, Talocogon City, Agusan del Sur, Dumaguete City and Cebu City.

"The earthquake struck at a shallow depth only, so this temblor was felt even in communities already far from its epicenter," said Sawi.(PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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