7 dead, 24 missing in Luzon quake: NDRRMC

MANILA — Seven people were confirmed dead, 24 others are missing while 81 more were injured in the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon on Monday.

In its 8 a.m. Tuesday update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 32 structures in Central Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR) were damaged by the quake.

The NDRRMC report was signed and released by executive director Ricardo Jalad.

It also disclosed that an earthquake-induced landslide was reported in Mt. Bimmukel, Sitio Lomibao, Barangay San Rafael, San Marcelino, Zambales. About 120 families were evacuated and provided with relief packs. A total of 22 schools in Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and NCR has suspended classes due to the incident.

Also, the National Disaster Reduction and Management Operations Center was placed on “blue alert” effective 7 p.m. Monday for monitoring and response purposes.

Early Tuesday, government work was suspended in Metro Manila, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga to give way for the inspection of structures that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense (DND) directed the Office of Civil Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to assist in the assessment and relief operations of areas affected by the earthquake.

In response, the AFP said its Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) has alerted two platoons of its disaster response task units (DRTUs) for any untoward incident.

“In Metro Manila, JTF-NCR alerted two platoons of DRTU with complete equipment. The AFP has disaster response task groups that are pre organized and pre tasked for possible deployment in any eventualities of disaster,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

Arevalo also said the AFP will continue its training with civilian rescue groups and ongoing procurement of equipment to further enhance its disaster response readiness.

“Included in our trainings are those had with other armed forces in the region to ensure inter-operability and readiness,” the AFP spokesperson stressed.

In line with this, Arevalo said that the Tarlac-based Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), led by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, has already deployed a composite team of disaster rescue groups of 67 personnel (consisting of seven officers and 60 enlisted personnel) to help in the ongoing search-and-rescue operations in the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, Pampanga.

Salamat has also instructed all Nolcom disaster response rescue units to be on stand by for rescue operations, the AFP spokesperson said. Priam Nepomuceno /PNA –

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