Davao quake: Workers shift to search and retrieval ops

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    WITH no more signs of life, workers at a collapsed grocery store in Davao del Sur yesterday shifted operations to search and retrieval from search and rescue, as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the official death toll from Sunday’s magnitude 6.9 earthquake stood at seven.

    Three of the fatalities were retrieved from the rubble of the Southern Trade grocery store in Padada town.

    The NDRRMC said the towns of Matanao, Magsaysay, Hagonoy, and Bansalan, also in Davao del Sur, registered one death each.

    The NDRRMC also said 86 persons were injured.

    The quake also destroyed or damaged nearly 300 structures, including houses.

    At least 1,950 families or about 9,755 persons were affected in the Davao region, of which 1,913 families are housed in 13 evacuation centers.

    Col. Fred Trajeras, director of the Bureau of Fire Protection in the Davao region who is leading the operations at the collapsed store, said there are no longer signs of life from the rubble.

    Trajeras said the body of the third fatality from the incident, Emily Beloy, a grocery store worker, was retrieved at around 9:55 p.m. Monday.

    Trajeras said rescue personnel used life and motion detectors and x-ray finders. “They were able to locate one object … We could not ascertain if it’s animal or human body. It was detected by our equipment. No signs of life, no heart beat,” he said.

    Trajeras also said no one is looking for a family member or friend.

    “There is no longer a claimant as of now. We are hoping no one (human) is already inside but if there is, it’s already hopeless. That’s why we are focused on retrieval operation,” said Trajeras.

    “The operations to be conducted is purely retrieval, no more rescue operation,” he added.

    He said workers are going to drill a hole to access the body that was detected about 1.5 meters from the entrance of the store.

    “We cannot ascertain whether it’s on the ground or the second floor … We have no choice but forcibly (retrieve) it,” he said.

    The Department of Education (DepEd), in an updated report, said classrooms in 42 schools in Regions 11 (Davao) and 12 (Soccsksargen) were either destroyed or damaged.

    The Department of Health said seven health facilities were damaged, These are the Davao del Sur Provincial Hospital, Malungon Rural Health Unit (RHU), RHU Bansalan, St. Benedict Hospital, Gregorio Matas District Hospital, Rudinas-Dalapo Hospital, and Kiblawan Rural Health Unit.

    Caritas Manila called on the faithful to donate shelter sheets (tarpaulins, bamboo poles, ropes), portalets, potable water, food, cooking ware and utensils, blankets, mosquito nets, flashlights, rechargeable batteries, emergency lamps, hygiene items, and medical kits.
    Donations may be dropped off at the Caritas Manila office located at 2002 Jesus St. Pandacan, Manila.