Dumaguete, Philippines — After the February 6, 2012 Earthquake

Nearly two days after the earthquake, and we are still experiencing aftershocks.  I was awakened this morning by one right before 6:00am, and I just felt another slight tremor at 8:48am.  Multiple sources, including PHIVOLCS, report more than 1,000 (mostly minor) aftershocks since the initial earthquake, but the strongest of these measured 6.2  early Monday evening.  Aftershocks could continue

President Aquino will be in Dumaguete today (his 52nd birthday) to assess the damage and meet with local officials.  According to the Department of Public Works and Highways 11 bridges are impassable along the Dumaguete North Road in Negros, and some sections of this road have cracks or debris from resulting landslides blocking passage.  Specifically within Dumaguete, five bridges have been classified as impassable due to damages:  the Martilo Bridge km 64+800 (La Libertad); Pangaloan Bridge (Jimalalud); Oyangon Bridge ; San Jose Bridge km 101+669; and Bateria Bridge.

The new Robinson’s Mall in Dumaguete had minor structural damage, with some cracking in the walls.  [I have since learned that Robinson’s Movie Theatre is temporarily closed due to ceiling damage.]  I don’t know yet about Lee Plaza or Hypermart.  I will be going out later today to have a look around.

For more information, including maps and related videos, please visit the following link from GMA:  http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/247178/news/regions/aftershocks-dim-hopes-of-finding-survivors-in-quake-hit-negros-oriental

Please keep the Filipino people in your thoughts as they face yet another difficult time, and pray for those still missing following  multiple landslides (currently 71 from two barangays).

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Earthquake in Dumaguete, Philippines — February 6, 2012

An earthquake struck the central Philippines this morning at 11:49am PHT, about half an hour after the NY Giants Super Bowl victory.  This was incredible – the entire house was rumbling, walls were shaking and the floor felt like it was going out from under my feet.  It sounded similar to thunder, and I’m guessing it lasted for about 30 seconds, maybe a little more.  Cell service was down for awhile, as everyone was trying to call or text everyone they knew to make sure loved ones were ok.

We lost power in our barangay immediately following the earthquake, so we turned on our battery-powered radio for news.  After a few minutes reports started coming in that this earthquake measured 6.9 on the Richter scale, and the epicentre was a mere 44 miles from our home city of Dumaguete!

The earthquake was just off the coast between Negros and the nearby island of Cebu.  A number of small aftershocks followed, and then it seemed quiet.   I took a trike downtown around 1:30pm to run a few errands and was surprised to see virtually every trike just packed with people.  I learned that the schools had been closed and watched as businesses shut down, their outdoor security gates being locked up tight.  All of these students and employees were heading for home.

Rumors were flying that the seawall down along Rizal Boulevard had already been breached and that water was beginning to fill the streets.  As I was having no luck finding a trike, I decided to walk down to the Boulevard to see for myself.  Delighted to discover this was not true, I resumed my search for a ride home.  Hopping in a trike after a 30-minute wait, I joined the sea of cars, trikes, motorcycles and bicycles, many people heeding advice to evacuate for higher ground due to the possibility of a tsunami.  I was so impressed as my incredibly patient driver just battled the bumper-to-bumper traffic without a single complaint, and I arrived home in about 45 minutes (a trip that normally takes no more than about eight minutes).

While I was downtown I did not see any destruction first-hand, but I heard on the news this evening that there was some damage, including three bridges that are considered “impassable” (I don’t know yet which bridges these are).  Thankfully there is no more talk of a tsunami, but sadly, as of this post there are 13 known fatalities here in Negros, including some elementary school students.  Periodic aftershocks continue, even into this evening.  Most are not significant, but the last one about 90 minutes ago was enough to make me sway a bit as I stood.  I checked in with a friend who lives in Banilad on the island of Cebu, and he said that there was no damage there but that they are still experiencing aftershocks, as well.  I do hope these are over now – it’s even more unsettling after dark.

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Please visit again for follow-up posts providing more details as I learn them.