Description of the disaster
On 29 October 2019, two strong earthquakes struck the province of North Cotabato, Mindanao. The first, a magnitude 6.6 in Tulunan at 09:04; the second, a magnitude 6.1 and 9km deep at 10:42 with almost the same epicentre. Just two days after, on 31 October 2019 at 09:15, another tectonic1 magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook central and eastern Mindanao at a shallow depth of two kilometres. The epicentre was again identified in Tulunan, North Cotabato2. A state of calamity3 was declared for Davao del Sur on 30 October and Cotabato on 5 November, the two hardest hit provinces. These earthquakes, as well as the magnitude 6.3 earthquake recorded on 16 October 2019, with the same epicentre location, are considered part of a sequence of events resulting from interdependent faults in the region. No tsunami warnings were issued but many aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 1.5 to 5.5 were recorded.
While the government authorities and humanitarian partners were providing humanitarian assistance to people in need, on 15 December 2019, another 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck at 9km northwest of Matanao municipality in the province of Davao del Sur, Mindanao. This was the fourth quake above magnitude 6 within two months to hit this part of Mindanao, all within a radius of 12km. According to PHILVOCS, although felt in the same areas, this latest earthquake did not emanate from the same fault as the October’s series of temblors in Mindanao. However, the December earthquake compounded previous displacement as well as damage to homes, schools and infrastructure from the October earthquakes, as reported in the DSWD DROMIC report. 13 confirmed deaths, 210 injured and one missing person were reported.
The plan of action for this Emergency Appeal was revised in December 2019 to provide a comprehensive response taking into account all geographical areas affected and escalating needs generated.
Summary of response
Overview of Host National Society Since first earthquakes in October 2019, PRC’s Operations Center (OpCen) collected information – from the chapters and Red Cross 143 volunteers in the areas – and issued disaster incident updates. The PRC Communications teams posted updates and photos of the situation on Facebook and Twitter.
Response Teams such as the Philippine Red Cross Action Team (RCAT143) and the National Disaster Response Team (NDRT), as well as other personnel from the PRC, specialized in relief, shelter, water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), health and welfare, were deployed. Other PRC chapters such as Compostela Valley Cotabato City, Davao del Sur, General Santos City, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat also provided support during the response.
The PRC headquarters and local chapters coordinated with the national and provincial DRRMCs respectively. During October and November 2019, PRC conducted rapid and in-depth assessments using teams comprised of multisector personnel from national headquarters (NHQ) and chapters. Following the earthquake on 15 December 2019, PRC OpCen was activated, a medical team deployed in the field as well as search and rescue, rapid assessment and relief delivery teams. The action plan was revised following the new situation.
The following infographic provides an overview of the operation and achievements made by PRC with implementing activities to respond immediately to priority needs: