[Photo courtesy of ADRA Philippines]
Philippines | Edward Rodriguez, SSD Communication Department

A strong earthquake jolted several areas in the Ilocos and Mountain Province regions on the morning of July 27, 2022. This is the strongest recorded inland earthquake to hit the Philippines since 2013, when approximately 1.9 million were displaced in the Central Philippines. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake triggered four major landslides, causing damage to national properties and roadblocks on primary national highways. This major earthquake registered over 40 aftershocks, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

PHIVOLCS reported that the earthquake’s epicenter was located in Tayum, Abra, in the Cordillera region. Nearby provinces like Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Baguio, Benguet, and even the country’s capital felt the shaking. 

The local government units immediately responded to conduct assessments while providing necessities to families greatly affected by the calamity. Northern Luzon is home to the UNESCO World Heritage sites, where national historic architecture is preserved. This reality speaks to some residential houses, which kept the Spanish colonial architecture up to this period. This made most homes vulnerable to a massive earthquake that destroyed nearly 200 buildings in the region. 

The ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) team is now conducting needs assessments on the ground, particularly in the province of Abra. Jerry Requillo, ADRA program manager, currently in the Northern Philippines leading the evaluation, reported that the immediate needs, particularly in the evacuation centers, are food, water, and hygiene kits. In addition, the government response team said another primary concern for displaced families is shelter.

ADRA is yet to gather information regarding families affected and displaced by the calamity. Updates are still to come as ADRA personnel partner with local government units (LGUs) to get the information required to conduct relief operations. 

Pastor Roger Caderma, president of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, expressed sympathy to families and individuals affected by the earthquake. Caderma invited the church in the region to come together in prayer and be a channel of God's love to others through donations, relief goods, or financial assistance through ADRA or local missions and conferences of the church.