Surigao del Sur – The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Caraga Region (DSWD-13) has commenced the distribution of food packs to 70,195 families affected by the recent magnitude 7.4 earthquake in Surigao del Sur. Marko Davey Reyes, DSWD-13 information office chief, stated that the aid distribution began on December 3 across the province. The earthquake, which struck off the coast of Hinatuan town on December 2, prompted a tsunami warning and the evacuation of thousands of residents.
According to Philippines News Agency, a series of aftershocks and tremors have been experienced in the province following the quake. As of Tuesday, 5,100 families in Hinatuan, especially those in coastal villages, had received food packs. DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian met with Governor Alexander Pimentel and other provincial officials to assess the situation.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that 580 houses were damaged during the quake, with losses estimated at PHP46 million. The DSWD provided initial assistance to 21 families with damaged houses under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program. Affected families received PHP5,000 for totally damaged houses and PHP3,000 for partially damaged ones. Secretary Gatchalian announced that each affected family will receive PHP11,000 next year under the Emergency Cash Transfer program.
The PDRRMO also noted PHP15 million worth of damage to government buildings and facilities, and PHP4 million to roads and bridges. In light of the continuing aftershocks, Surigao del Sur residents are advised to stay alert. Phivolcs senior science research specialist Erlinton Olavere described the tremor as the strongest recorded in the Philippine Trench, a major tectonic boundary in the eastern Pacific Ocean.