A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
On Saturday, 27 July 2019, at 4:16am (local time), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) reported a series of earthquakes struck the island of Batanes, the northernmost province in the Philippines; the first shock was of 5.4 magnitude with 12 km depth of focus, occurred at 4:16am, followed by the second shock, a 5.9 magnitude with 7 km depth at 7:37am, and the powerful shock was of 5.8 magnitude with 1 km depth tremor was felt after few hours, around 9:24am.
Two major earthquakes’ epicentres were recorded in the east of Itbayat, Batanes while the latest was in the east of Basco, Batanes. In total, 13 aftershocks were recorded as at 11:19am on the same day on 27 July 2019. PHILVOCS reports that the strongest intensity was Intensity VII (destructive) that was felt in Itbayat, Batanes following the 5.9 magnitude earthquake past 7:00am in the morning.
No tsunami alert was issued but aftershocks and damages are expected. For reference purposes, please see the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)
Earthquake Intensity Scale through this PEIS link.
On 29 July 2019, the Itbayat municipal council declared the town under a state of calamity. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee (NDRRMC), nine deaths were reported while 64 people injured. There were reported damages of health facilities including cracks in Itbayat’s District Hospital as well as its Municipal Health Office. Due to the continuous aftershocks, the District Hospital and the Rural Health Unit are no longer functional, with estimated damages worth 47 million Philippine peso (approximately CHF 915,000).
All patients were evacuated to open grounds outside the hospital. Up to 64 patients are currently receiving treatments due to earthquake-related injuries while seven patients were airlifted to Batanes General Hospital. Itbayat District Hospital indicates urgent needs include additional tents to place surge of patients and storage of medical supplies for suturing.
Immediately after first tremor, affected people were evacuated to the public market/municipal plaza in barangay San Rafael; as of 30 July 2019, 805 families or 2,616 persons are seeking shelter at the designated evacuation centres. The local government is prohibiting evacuated people to return to their houses since more aftershocks and damages are still expected.
Based on NDRRMC report, as of 1 August 2019, 266 houses (185 totally damaged and 81 partially) shelters, including ancestral homes, were reported to be damaged. Historical heritage is also damaged including the Santa Maria de Mayan Church, which was built in 1888.
There is power interruption reported in the entire municipality of Itbayat and mobile phone coverage is intermittently available. Itbayat, Batanes has five barangays; Raele, San Rafael (Idiang), Santa Lucia (Kauhauhasan), Santa Maria (Marapuy) and Santa Rosa (Kaynatuan). Electrical power supply has been restored in the barangays of Raele Santa Rosa and Santa Lucia.