By AARON RECUENCO, Felix N. Codilla III
Two people died while more than 50 houses were damaged when a 5.1 magnitude quake shook several areas in the province of Leyte yesterday morning.
Supt. Ma. Elma delos Santos, spokesperson of the Ormoc City police, said the first fatality was a 70-year old woman in Barangay San Jose who died due to illness while the second one was a woman who collapsed and died later while running in Barangay Naungan.
The earthquake occurred at 6:26 a.m. yesterday with its epicenter traced some five kilometers northeast of Albuera town.
The strongest magnitude of the tremor was felt in Albuera and Ormoc, according to the scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
Chief Insp. Maria Bella Rentuaya, information officer of the Eastern Visayas regional police, said at total of 56 houses were initially reported to have been damaged in Barangay Altavista in Ormoc City.
Rentuaya said policemen were deployed in the affected areas for damage assessment.
The quake occurred just over a month after a strong tremor also hit Leyte and other parts of the Visayas.
Three people were reported dead while 400 others were injured as a result of that quake. More than 3,000 houses, buildings and establishments were also damaged.
Meantime, a lockdown was declared at the upper floors of the Ormoc City Hall after ceiling panels fell and exposed electrical wirings.
The quake would have resulted in injuries had it occurred during office hours, it was observed. Since the building’s second and third floors were declared off limits, operations were moved to the ground floor to enable the affected offices to continue providing services.