November 20, 2023, Metro Manila, Philippines – A devastating magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Mindanao, Philippines, on November 17, leading to significant loss of life and property. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported a rising death toll, which has now reached nine. This natural disaster has affected thousands and caused extensive damage across the region.
Tragic Loss of Lives and Injuries
As of Monday, the NDRRMC confirmed nine fatalities, a number still undergoing validation. The deaths were primarily reported in Saragani, with five casualties, followed by South Cotabato with three, and one in Davao Occidental. Additionally, 15 injuries have been reported, with a majority from the Soccsksargen region. Fortunately, no individuals are currently reported missing.
Widespread Damage to Homes and Infrastructure
The earthquake’s impact was severe, damaging 826 houses across Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, South Cotabato, and Sarangani. The number of damaged infrastructures has reached 118, affecting multiple areas including Davao City and surrounding regions. Notably, schools in the affected regions reported damages amounting to approximately ₱152 million.
Efforts to Restore and Assist
In terms of recovery efforts, the NDRRMC reported that all bridges are now passable, and efforts are underway to clear three roads in the Soccsksargen region. Power supply has been restored in all 21 cities and municipalities that initially lost connection due to the quake.
Disaster Response and Aid
No area has yet declared a state of calamity, but Soccsksargen is under red alert status, requiring disaster officials to be on duty around the clock. Over ₱11 million worth of assistance, including food packs, family kits, and financial aid, has been provided to residents affected by the earthquake.
The aftermath of the Mindanao earthquake presents significant challenges for the affected communities. While recovery efforts are underway, the tragic loss of lives and extensive property damage highlight the need for continued support and resilience in the face of natural disasters.