Quake death toll rises to 26

A total of 26 people have been officially confirmed dead from the magnitude 6.9 earthquake in the Visayas Region, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Wednesday (February 8 ) said.

In its 8 a.m. update, the NDRRMC also said that 71 people remain missing while 52 individuals have been injured. Many of the casualties were caused by collapsed buildings, roads and bridges.

Minda Morante of the Office of Civil Defense-Central Visayas Director Minda Morante said the number of deaths is expected to rise as authorities continue to receive reports of casualties.

According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region VII office, damage to local infrastructure is estimated to have reached PhP265.75 million. A total of ten bridges in Negros Oriental were rendered impassable due to damages. One section in Dumaguete North road remain impassable because of cracks. Two roads in Badian, Cebu sustained damages because of huge rocks fall, landslides and road slip.

In Guihulngan City, water supply system was totally damaged. Electric facilities are down and cellular signals are not working. The towns of Ayungon, Tayasan, Jimalalud, La Libertad and Guihulngan all in Negros Oriental remain powerless and waterless.

The NDRRMC said it is working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Health and other local government units on a consolidated effort in rescuing trapped people and delivering goods and medicine to affected communities.

There have been 1,214 aftershocks, 69 of which were felt, as of  6 a.m.Wednesday. According to Enrico Mangao, senior science research specialist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), aftershocks are expected for a week since the plates disrupted during the quake are still settling. The 6.2 aftershock 6 hours after the quake was a rarity, said Mangao.

The quake was caused by a fault not previously known and Phivolcs is currently probing this new fault line in Negros.