UPDATE: Quake death toll now at 43

DEATH toll from the strong quake that hit Negros Oriental last week has climbed to 43 on Monday as authorities continues as more aftershocks were recorded prompting authorities to conduct forced evacuations of residents in danger zone.

Latest reports by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) rose after rescue workers recovered two more bodies in La Libertad, one of the most affected by the quake.

The recovery of the two more bodies has placed the death toll to the magnitude 6.9 earthquake to 43 with 54 persons injured and 66 others still remain missing, the NDRRMC reports said.

The NDRRMC reports said of the 43 fatalities, 17 of them are from Guihulngan City; 10 in La Libertad; eight in Jimalalud; three from
Tayasan; two each from Ayuyod and Manjuyod and one from Bindoy.

The reports added that around 200 residents of Brgy. Tinayoan of Guihulngan City was forcefully evacuated by military and police out fear of possible landslide might be brought by heavy rains.

The reports also said that local disaster officials in Negros Oriental have sought to the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in identifying of some of the dead victims of the quake.

The NDRRMC reports added that the number of affected families still remain at 34,507 families or about 185,496 persons coming from two provinces, two cities and eight municipalities.

From this figure, a total of 25,698 families or 128,080 are currently staying in 74 evacuation centers set up by the government and NGO’s in Negros Oriental, the NDRRMC reports said.

The NDRRMC bulletin added that initial cost of damages to infrastructure is estimated at P365.75 million with 10,655 houses were either partially or totally destroyed and ten bridges collapsed due to the quake. (Anthony Vargas)

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