The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Thursday said movement in the Manila Trench under the West Philippine Sea could trigger a magnitude-8 earthquake and result in a tsunami that could affect Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga.
Such a tsunami could also enter Manila Bay within an hour, said PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum, affecting 2.5-million people, 200 schools and 35 hospitals in Metro Manila.
It was the second dire warning from Phivolcs in as many days. On Wednesday, Solidum said the West Valley Fault running through six cities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces could move and trigger a magnitude-7.2 earthquake anytime.
Solidum said there are plans to put up a national government center in Clark Air Base in Pampanga so that key operations would continue in case a powerful earthquake or a tsunami hits Metro Manila.
Search and rescue operations, meanwhile, were still ongoing for 14 people still missing in the Chuzon supermarket in Porac, Pampanga, after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake rocked Luzon on Monday.
Edgar Posadas, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman, said rescuers are now lifting the roofing and other debris systematically to find survivors.
Posadas acknowledged that there were no new signs of life inside the rubble.
“But we’re not giving up,” he said.
A lawyer representing the owners of the Chuzon supermarket on Thursday denied any irregularities in the construction of the building.
In an interview with GMA News, Adden Sigua, lawyer of Chuzon supermarket owner Samuel Chu, denied suggestions that the four-story supermarket was originally designed as a two-story building.
The supermarket collapsed on April 22, burying dozens of people. Seven have been confirmed dead.
Chu has promised to give a P50,000 cash assistance to each of the families of those killed in the earthquake and to shoulder the hospital bills of those injured.
The number of families affected by Monday’s earthquake has climbed to 1,203 families, consisting of 4,991 individuals.
The affected families are residing in 10 cities and municipalities in Central Luzon.
Of the total, 965 families or 3,699 persons are being aided in seven evacuation centers, and another 108 families or 648 individuals are being helped outside evacuation centers, the National Disaster Risk
Reduction and Management Council reported Thursday in its 6 a.m. update, signed and released by Executive Director Ricardo Jalad.
The number of those killed in the tremor remains at 16; the injured, at 86; and the missing, still at 14.
These numbers are still subject to validation, the NDRRMC said.
About 542 houses were reported to have been damaged in Bataan and Pampanga—142 were destroyed and 400 were partially damaged.
A total of 139 structures in the Central Luzon region and the National Capital Region also suffered damage.
Some P1.16 million worth of assistance to Central Luzon has been provided by the Office of Civil Defense, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the local government units.
The number of people injured on Tuesday’s magnitude-6.5 tremor that shook San Julian, Eastern Samar has risen to 21, the NDRRMC added.
The number of affected families was placed at 68, consisting of 272 persons, residing in 13 barangays in Eastern and Western Samar, the council said.
The NDRRMC also reported that 67 houses were damaged in Eastern and Western Samar, four of them destroyed and 63 others partially damaged.
The Department of Public Works and Highways on Thursday announced that all national roads and bridges affected by earthquakes are now accessible to the public.
“The DPWH Quick Response Teams [DPWH-QRT] were able to assess, fix, and open various roads, bridges, and other infrastructure that were damaged by the recent earthquakes in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said .
He said the DPWH-QRT were immediately deployed right after the tremors to undertake structural assessment and ensure safety of national roads and public buildings in all areas affected by the earthquakes.
“As early as Wednesday, we were able to repair and open Consuelo Bridge in Floridablanca, Pampanga to light vehicles. Assessments of other infrastructure are also being conducted in the entire Central Luzon,” Villar said.
The DPWH has also opened the East Lateral Mega Dike in Bacolor, the Floridablanca-Consuelo Bridge, and the Sasmuan-Lubao Road.
In Metro Manila, the section of UN Avenue in front of Emilio Aguinaldo College is still cordoned off to one lane to prevent possible damage to passing vehicles from a leaning building.
The department has also conducted inspection on 275 national bridges, flyovers, and viaducts, 452 school buildings, and 142 other public buildings in NCR, following the April 22 quake.
Based on the DPWH-NCR report, three out of the 275 bridges that were inspected sustained minor damage which include Guadalupe Bridge in Makati City showed a crack on a girder. The Tinejeros and Tanza bridges in Malabon City also showed minor cracks on their railings.
Villar said the Guadalupe Bridge is already up for major retrofitting under DPWH Unified Project Management Office, while Tanza Bridge will undergo a second stage of inspection.
“The minor damage on Tinejeros Bridge, on the other hand, does not require immediate repair, as railings do not carry load,” he said.
A total of 53 school buildings in Metro Manila have also sustained minor damage, mostly cracks on walls, columns, beams, and ceilings, but three school buildings were recommended for immediate structural evaluation.
The DPWH is coordinating with the Department of Education for the restoration of structures with major damage.
“We are working closely with other national government agencies and stakeholders to ensure that our disaster preparedness, response, and rehabilitation programs are efficient,” he said.