Manila — 2,193 aftershocks from Philippines quake, death toll at 186.
Philippine residents in earthquake-hit areas have been advised not to occupy damaged houses or buildings to avoid injury from aftershocks that continue to rock central Visayas from last week’s quake.
Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said “Aftershocks are still possible in the coming days, weeks but decreasing in number”.
As of 4am Monday, a total of 2,193 aftershocks have been recorded by Phivolcs, 46 of which were felt, from the magnitude 7.2 quake that struck Bohol and Cebu last Tuesday. The death toll from the earthquake stands at 186, according to Philippine media reports.
No major damage or casualties have yet been reported from the aftershocks, the largest of which was a 5.4 tremor that hit Bohol at 7:03am Monday, said state volcanologists.
Phivolcs advised people not to panic since aftershocks normally follow a major earthquake and may continue for weeks or months.
Over three million people have been affected by last week’s Philippines quake, including 109,712 who are still in evacuated centers.
In Bohol 11 people are still missing.
Phivolcs said the Philippines quake was equivalent to 32 atomic bombs, and has damaged over 45,000 houses in the region, in addition to roads, churches, and bridges.
Solidum also clarified that the earthquake was not triggered by a new fault, said reports.
“That one (fault, north offshore of Bohol) is a hidden or blind fault, it does not appear at land surface,” said the Phivolcs chief.
“We already postulated its presence possibly offshore of Bohol when we did the ground shaking hazards assessment in 2007 under the United Nations-funded READY project, that is why we estimated Intensity 7 to 8 shaking at northern side of Bohol,” he explained.
Earlier, Ismael Narag of Phivolcs had said that the powerful earthquake that rocked Bohol and Cebu last Oct. 15 could have been triggered by the new fault system and not the East Bohol fault.
Solidum said data from their instruments initially indicated the East Bohol fault as the epicenter of the deadly quake.
He also said they were prevented from getting more information because electricity was cut in most parts of the devastated area.
“The orientation of the postulated fault was not defined because of few earthquake events but with the current earthquake events we will be able to image this better,” he said.
Solidum said five additional seismographs were installed after the main shock to properly locate smaller aftershocks.
He also said active faults mapping is ongoing.
“Phivolcs geologists map the active faults using our regular fund or sometimes part of international collaboration like READY projects but our experts mapped the active faults in this project,” he said.
He said everyone should be prepared for earthquakes even if they are far from active faults because ground shaking and other hazards could affect them.
“Cebu is very far from the epicenter of the quake but it was affected by ground shaking,” Solidum noted.