A team of seven Tzu Chi members set out to survey the trail of the 6.1 magnitude that hit several regions in Luzon last April 22, 2019. They coordinated with four volunteers from Angeles City and went to two barangays in Porac, Pampanga.
After a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck parts of Luzon last April 22, 2019, a team of seven Tzu Chi members from Manila meet up with four volunteers from Angeles City in the early morning of April 24 and proceed to Porac, Pampanga to survey the damaged occurred by the earthquake.
According to a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council issued in the morning of April 24, around 2,000 individuals in Region III were affected by the temblor. Tzu Chi volunteers visited Porac Mayor Condralito Dela Cruz who confirmed that there are 12 casualties in their municipality as of this posting, while every barangay sustained heavy damage to their properties.
“There are [damaged] schools, chapels, roads; there are landslides in the mountainous areas... which we have to check.” he added.
Five of the casualties are from the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket. According to Community Affairs Officer John Paul Martinez, for the meantime, the searched is focused on removing debris and to retrieve or rescue any other casualties.
“Based on their assessment, there are no signs of life anymore, unlike yesterday when victims kept on sending out messages asking for help.”
Tzu Chi volunteers went to the mountainous area of Barangay Villa Maria in Porac, Pampanga and found houses and buildings near Villa Maria Integrated School suffered cracks and other structural damages.
“The damage is great, especially among the old concrete houses. At least 30 percent of the houses were gone.” said Chairperson Manuel Valencia.
Barangay Villa Maria resident Jerico Lansang narrated how his family miraculously survived. His two older children rushed out of the collapsing house, while his wife and their week-old baby were trapped but was rescued immediately.
“I’m really grateful to God that nobody died even if the house collapsed... but it’s still painful. Because the house that I worked hard with sweat and blood for our kids is gone in this unexpected disaster.”
Fifteen-year-old Bright Gutierrez was able to run away from their collapsing house when the earthquake rocked it to the ground. His mother Soledad was away at work, “After the earthquake, she came home and cried upon seeing the devastation which she cannot help.”
Tzu Chi volunteers also visited the temporary settlement of the Aetas from Barangay Diaz in Porac. Because of the earthquake, a landslide occurred in their area and destroyed most of their houses, the residents have since settled near a small river in Barangay Babo Pangulo with only canvas for shelter from the daytime heat and the nighttime dew. Volunteers reported that some of the children are getting sick.
“These people are farmers and they are worried about their crops up in the mountains which is their livelihood. They are here temporarily just to be secured from the aftermath of the quake.” said volunteer Michael Siao
Diaz resident Babylyn Guiao described how extensive the damage was in their barangay where their chapel; school and even newly constructed concrete houses were destroyed. “The roads have very big cracks. “she said. “Everything is gone.”
Lisa Garcia grew emotional talking about their old home. Lisa said that they didn’t want to leave Diaz, but they have to because the damage was too severe.