With the local news saturated with more coverage of bickering celebrity siblings and inconsequential motorcycle incidents than we cared to hear about, it was important to stay vigilant and keep our attention on the things that mattered and made a difference — one of them being a series of earthquakes in Mindanao (particularly North Cotabato) that spanned a total of two weeks in October, with numerous aftershocks and considerable damage to multiple areas.
While it’s been a number of days since they took place, a lot of people are still not all that aware of just how bad the earthquakes were, especially since the country has been experiencing quite a lot of less severe ones recently. Angel Locsin may have gone viral for volunteering her time and efforts on-site in Cotabato as part of the Philippine Red Cross relief operations, but not everyone knows why she needed to be there.
Here’s a primer on what took place in Mindanao — and a few suggestions on how you can do your part in helping the victims soldier on and start anew.
What happened during the North Cotabato earthquakes?
On Oct. 29, several areas in Mindanao were hit with a 6.6 magnitude earthquake, followed by another 6.5 magnitude earthquake two days later on Oct. 31, with most of the damage centering around Cotabato. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded a total of 1,349 aftershocks following these incidents: 381 after the Oct. 29 occurrence, and 968 after Oct. 31.
These events have resulted in over 400 injuries and over 20 deaths, including a six-month-old baby who passed away due to cramped living conditions at — with safe drinking water and daily needs being hard to come by — an evacuation center in Makilala, the city most affected by the disasters. Most of the deaths have been attributed to landslides, falling debris, and cardiac arrests, and two people have also gone missing.
How much damage was done to the affected areas?
Both earthquakes have a recorded intensity of 8, classified as severe, with considerable damage and partial collapse to ordinary buildings and great damage to poorly built structures. They occurred two weeks after a previous 6.3 magnitude earthquake with an intensity of 7 hit the same area on Oct. 16 — buildings and infrastructure affected by this earlier incident made all the more vulnerable to further ruin.
According to the Department of Public Works and Highways, the earthquakes have resulted in a total of P86 million in damages to public infrastructure. The Department of Social Welfare and Development also states that a total of 20,704 families amounting to 103,520 individuals in Makilala alone were affected, and over 20,000 houses were damaged.
How can we help?
Aside from donating cash and relief goods, you can also make a difference by taking some time out of your day to help collect, organize, or even hand out aid to the earthquake victims, even if you’re not in the affected areas. Keep an eye out for local donation drives and other efforts, and just volunteer to lend a hand. Below are some suggestions for organizations and other initiatives through which you can help.