Thousands of residents need shelter in earthquake-stricken Masbate town

Thousands of residents need shelter in earthquake-stricken Masbate town

LIGAO CITY –– At least 70 percent of the population in Cataingan town in Masbate province is in dire need of tents or temporary shelter after last Tuesday’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake left most houses too dangerous to be occupied.

“Most of the houses were damaged by the shake and out of the 50,000 population, 60 to 70 percent are affected.” Mayor Filipe Cabataña told the Inquirer in a phone interview on Wednesday.

He said they would need about 200 tents for his constituents as they are too scared to return to their homes.

“They are afraid (their houses) may collapse any time as we continue to experience aftershocks.” He said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has recorded at least 26 aftershocks within hours after the earthquake struck at 8:05 a.m. on Tuesday.

Cabatana said their evacuation centers were also damaged, and school buildings now serve as temporary shelters for displaced families.

He said the affected residents should not stay long and crowd in one area as they may contract the coronavirus disease.

The municipal government was earlier forced to release over a hundred locally stranded individuals (LSIs), or those returning to the town from other parts of the country, after the town’s quarantine facility for LSIs was also damaged by the quake.

The LSIs were told to continue their mandatory 14-day quarantine in their homes. It is not known how many of these LSIs are now among those who have also lost their homes to the quake and have been given temporary shelters in school buildings.