Series of Earthquakes struck Negros Island, parts of Visayas; caused panic, evacuation

Series of moderate to strong earthquakes since July 11 caused panic and evacuation in several towns and cities in Negros Island and Panay yesterday.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), a 6.2 magnitude was registered at its highest in the series of tremors that shook the earth in said areas, with the epicenter located 112 kilometers Southwest of Dumaguete City in Oriental Negros  and 78 km SW of Cauayan town  in Negros Occidental and was felt as far as Agusan in the south and Aklan in the north. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reads it at 6.4.

PHIVOLCS further reported varying intensities in several areas covered by the quake with a Tectonic origin:

Intensity V – Sipalay City; Kabangkalan and Cauayan, Negros Occidental

Intensity IV – Iloilo City; Oton, Iloilo; Dumaguete City; Binalbagan, Hinigaran and Sibulan, Negros Occidental

Intensity III – Lapu-lapu City; San Jose and Anini-y, Antique; Roxas City; Panay, Capiz; Dapitan City; Talisay City,                                                Negros Occ.; Dipolog City; Hamtic, Antique; Sagay City

Intensity II – Cagayan de Oro City; La Carlota City, Negros Occ.; Buenavista, Agusan del Sur; Patnongon, Antique

Intensity I – Kalibo, Lezo and Banga, Aklan; La Castellana, Negros Occ.; Zamboanga City

It reported that the series of quakes was due to the movement of the Negros trench which lies off the coast of Southwest Negros in the Sulu Sea. Early on, a magnitude 5.2 quake was felt just past midnight on July 11.

According to residents in Bayawan City (NegOr), some 50 kilometers from Sipalay City, the shaking of the earth was felt the strongest around 4am on July 12 that lasted for about a minute. This was followed by at least three more aftershocks, the last being recorded around 4:56pm at magnitude 4.9.

This unusual occurrence of series of quakes prompted a tsunami scare among residents along the coastal areas, especially in Sipalay City in Negros Occidental and in Basay and Bayawan City in Negros Oriental. As of July 12, the local government units and Department of Education in affected localities have suspended classes at all levels and mobilized their respective disaster management efforts to evacuate the residents to higher grounds if needed and should a tsunami warning will be issued. As of July 13 (AM), no tsunami alert was raised by Phivolcs.

Summary of recorded earthquakes in the area

So far, no human casualties were reported, however, panic buying and evacuation was apparent among residents in the coastal areas in Southwest part of the island. Minor cracks and destruction on houses and buildings were reported. An apparent landslide in Sta Catalina town in Negros Oriental was said to be caused by the quakes, however, no casualties were also reported.

Additional information:

References:

PHIVOLCS. http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph

NDRRMC. http://www.ndrrmc.gov.ph

US Geological Survey. http://www.usgs.gov

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