Easing Leyte aftershocks still threat to public safety: Phivolcs

MANILA — Future aftershocks of last Thursday’s magnitude 6.5 earthquake in Leyte province can still endanger life, limb and property, even if these tremors occur less frequently.

“Some of those aftershocks can further damage structures that the earthquake has already affected,” science research analyst of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), Julius Galdiano, said Saturday.

He cautioned people against going near or re-occupying structures weakened by the quake as they might collapse when aftershocks strike anew.

Galdiano said about 20 aftershocks per hour shook Leyte shortly after the earthquake struck.

That frequency has already decreased to about 10 aftershocks per two hours and is expected to ease further, he said, noting that people however must continue to be cautious.

“Several of the earthquake’s forthcoming aftershocks may be felt and can even destroy damaged structures,” he warned.

Galdiano said as of 8 a.m. Saturday, Phivolcs already recorded 481 aftershocks, concentrated in Leyte’s Ormoc-Jaro area.

Their magnitudes ranged from 1.5 to 4.3, and 10 of the aftershocks were felt, he said, adding that Phivolcs has already plotted 57 of the aftershocks.

Earlier, Phivolcs director and science undersecretary, Renato Solidum, reiterated the need to assess the structural stability of structures in the country.

“Many structures, particularly houses, are either non-engineered or old,” he said.

Assessing structural stability will show if a structure can still be repaired or re-occupied, or if they have to be condemned or demolished. Catherine Teves/PNA-northboundasia.com