Aid agencies gear up to assist in Philippine earthquake aftermath

Aid workers are working with local authorities to determine the extent of the damage left by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck central Philippines Monday (Feb. 6).

The Philippine Army and local officials estimate that at least 43 people have died due to the earthquake, which was felt in the islands of Cebu, Panay and Negros 11:49 a.m. local time. The quake shook buildings, toppled weaker structures, triggered landslides and prompted a local tsunami alert that has since been lifted. A number of strong aftershocks were also felt throughout the day.

World Vision, one of several international aid agencies with offices in the Philippines, said it has sent local staff members to help authorities with damage and needs assessment. It said additional staff and assistance will be deployed based on this evaluation.

The United Nations has expressed readiness to provide assistance as well. At a press briefing, Martin Nesirky, the secretary-general’s spokesperson, said, “The Government has not requested international assistance so far, but as always, the United Nations stands ready to provide assistance if needed and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs continues to monitor developments.” 

One of the cities where the earthquake was felt strongest was Dumaguete on the island of Negros. The city was also among those hit by Tropical Storm Washi, which devastated parts of southern Philippines in December 2011.

The Philippines is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of high volcanic and seismic activities that marks the border between the Pacific Plate and other major tectonic plates.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.