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The government distributes aid and clears roads in Cordillera earthquake-affected communities.

In response to a magnitude 7 earthquake that has left at least one person dead, numerous people injured, and caused landslides in sections of the Cordillera region, both the national and local administrations initiated disaster and relief operations on Wednesday in impacted areas of northern Luzon.

The Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the province and municipal administrations of Abra, as well as the 24th Infantry Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army have already held their respective emergency meetings to coordinate reaction efforts.

In the meantime, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Erwin Tulfo, flew over Abra on Wednesday before noon to assess the earthquake’s damage.

Governor Dominic Valera and Vice Governor Joy Valera-Bernos were present for the meeting with Abra local authorities, and Tulfo promised support and aid from the federal government.

“May paparating na food products to ensure that everyone gets enough to eat. To ensure that no one goes without food, food is being transported to Abra by the DSWD-CAR and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development (SWAD). During the discussion with the officials, he stated, “The DSWD-Cordillera Administrative Region and the SWAD have also been alerted for the needed cash support.

Food trays

The DSWD-CAR reported that a total of 24,247 family food packs worth PHP16,047,220.51 are still available as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

In Abra, at least 4,434 packs have been prepositioned; in Apayao and Ifugao, 1,000 each; in Mountain Province, 1,231; and in Kalinga, 1,294.

Non-food products such as family tents, modular tents, sleeping kits, hygiene kits, sanitation kits, kitchen boxes, rolls of laminated sacks, and malong are also available for delivery.

In a video message shared on Facebook, Congressman Eric Yap of Benguet stated that he has already worked with private contractors to clear landslides off highways, particularly in Benguet, which connects to other areas of the region like Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Abra.

road conditions

According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), many landslides have forced the closure of several roads, including Kennon Road, the Benguet-Vizcaya Road, the Baguio-Bua-Itogon Road, and Mt. Data Cliff.

Due to a number of road slides, the Mountain Province-Ilocos Sur Route via Tue and Kayan Roads in Mankayan is also still blocked off, although DPWH equipment is already on the scene to plow open the road.

Two loaders are currently at work clearing the Gawa part of the latter road, while the Baguio-Bontoc Road and the Mountain Province-Cagayan Road via the Tabuk-Enrile Road have already been cleared.

All three roads—Dantay-Sagada, Junction Talubin-Barlig, and Mountain Province-Nueva Vizcaya Road—are open to travel.

work and a missed class

Work in the government and classes in both public and private institutions have been suspended, according to the chief executives of Baguio City, Benguet, and Abra.

Dominic Valera, the governor of Abra, and Benjamin Magalong, the mayor of Baguio, each issued separate orders directing building owners to bar access to their respective properties pending the completion of a structural stability evaluation.

The magnitude 7 earthquake, which had a depth of 25 km, was reported to have struck Abra at 8:43 a.m. by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

According to Phivolcs, more than 200 aftershocks have been reported as of 1 p.m.

The DSWD claimed that several people were hurt in Abra, while La Trinidad reported the only fatality in Benguet.

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