While the Philippine nation observed the Feast of Sacrifice holiday with its Islam brethren on October 15, a 7.2 earthquake struck the islands of Bohol at twelve past eight in the morning sending aftershocks to surrounding island provinces like Cebu, Misamis Oriental and Negros Oriental and killing at least 90.
Within 24 hours, the government quickly responded by sending welfare assistance and rescue operations to Bohol. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency in the Philippines (ADRA-Philippines) is sending a representative to assess the situation and needs.
The intensity of the quake caused window breakage and cracked concrete at the Adventist Hospital-Cebu, according to Elmer Manatad, treasurer of the church union headquarters in the central Philippines (CPUC). Patients from the 3rd and 4th floors were moved to the ground floor to ensure safety. Some were kept in shelters and in a church across from the hospital building.
The local Adventist high school, East Visayan Academy (EVA), in the nearby town of Talisay suffered cracked walls and detached ceilings. EVA registrar, Michelle Nogra notes that due to the holiday, classes were not in session and thus students were not in danger at the site during the quake. Students were advised to remain at home until further notice while structural engineers were contacted to inspect the damages as ordered by the provincial leaders.
As of October 16, the Capitol Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cebu is the only church to report damage but the extent is unknown at this time.
Fortunately, the CPUC building was spared from major damage except for a few cracks on some walls. CPUC communication director, Donald Zabala, reports that local Hope Channel production was temporarily halted for safety reasons.
CPUC oversees more than 1,200 churches in central Philippines with a membership of over 166,000 members. [Gay Deles, AND]