Quake damage in power plants still being assessed


TACLOBAN CITY –The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) as of Friday morning was still assessing the extent of the damage brought about by the earthquake which rattled Visayas Thursday afternoon.

The entire Eastern Visayas and nearby provinces have been experiencing power outages due to lack of supply as the tremor shook geothermal power plants in Kananga town.

The supply of electric power in Eastern Visayas and neighboring provinces is generated solely from the Leyte Tongonan Geothermal Field, which generates a total capacity of 699.4 megawatts.

“NGCP is still assessing the extent of the damage brought about by the earthquake. Due to supply deficiency caused by the outage of power plants located in Leyte, customers in Cebu, Negros, and Panay may also suffer occasional power interruptions,” said Edna Legaspina, NGCP media officer for Eastern Visayas.

At least 40 aftershocks were felt within 12 hours after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake rocked Leyte and its neighboring provinces Thursday afternoon.

Data from the Philippine Institute and Volcanology on Friday morning showed that aftershocks had its epicenter in Ormoc City and Jaro, Leyte with a magnitude ranging from 2.1 to 4.3.

Fault lines in Leyte have been moving since 4:10 p.m. on Thursday or just seven minutes after magnitude 6.5 tremor hit the island that interrupted normal activities in Leyte and Samar province with a combined population of more than four million.

At least two people died due to earthquake from Ormoc City and nearby Kananga, Leyte, the provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRRMO) confirmed early Friday morning.

In Ormoc City, falling debris killed an 18-year old woman. At least 104 people from the city have been admitted in hospitals for suffering minor injuries and hysteria.

In Kananga town, several people were trapped after a three-story commercial building collapsed. A dead body was retrieved from the rubble, said Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.

The building houses a grocery store, lodging house, and function rooms. At least 33 people were injured in Kananga town.

“The badly affected areas are Kananga town, Ormoc City and northwest part of Leyte. The earthquake also triggered minor landslides and minor damages of national roads,” Petilla told reporters Thursday night.

Local government officials have suspended classes in all levels on Friday in the entire Leyte province and cities of Tacloban and Ormoc due to ongoing assessment of structures.

“There is a pressing need to ensure structural integrity of buildings especially those in public and private educational institutions,” Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez stated in an executive order.

In an advisory on Thursday, Phivolcs said the earthquake occurred at 4:03 p.m., with its epicenter located at 15 kilometers northeast of Ormoc City.

The tectonic earthquake had a depth of 2 kilometers. It was felt at Intensity 7 in Ormoc City and Kananga town; Intensity 6 in Jaro and Capoocan, Leyte; Intensity 5 in Palo, Leyte; Tacloban City; Cebu City; Mandaue City; Intensity 4 in Catbalogan City; Cabucgayan and Naval, Biliran; Tolosa and Bato, Leyte; Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; Sagay City, Negros Occidental; and Burgos, Surigao del Norte.

Groundshaking was also felt in the islands of Biliran, Samar, Bohol, and Negros. Sarwell Meniano & Roel Amazona/PNA-northboundasia.com