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Lest We Forget: The Silent but Unforgotten 2013 Bohol Earthquake

The Philippines considers 2013 as an unfortunate year to remember - it was the year when Super Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Super Typhoon Yolanda, struck and wreaked havoc in the Visayas group of islands. However, approximately three weeks before this typhoon tragedy, a silent, yet powerful memory also resurfaces - the deadly Bohol earthquake of October 15.

Image courtesy of CNN

At around 8:12 in the morning, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 hit the Visayas region, mainly the areas of Bohol and Cebu. According to the official reports of the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), there were 222 casualties and 976 people were injured. After the 1990 Luzon earthquake which rocked Central Luzon and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the 2013 Bohol earthquake came in as the next deadliest quake in 23 years.

October 15, 2013 was a national holiday, as it was a day of observance of the Muslim Feast, Eid’l Adha. Fishing ports were seen to collapse, and structures inside markets crumbled. Many old infrastructures were unable to withstand the tremble, and numerous bridges, government buildings, and heritage churches also suffered. An estimated damage amounting to Php 2.2 billion was reported, and 348,000 families were declared displaced.

Image courtesy of United Nations

Originally, the ground shock was reportedly triggered by the East Bohol Fault. However, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) amended that according to the pattern of the aftershocks, the quake – tectonic in nature – was triggered by a previously undiscovered fault line, which is presently named as the North Bohol Fault.

Major power outages were declared in the region, and most of the health facilities needed immediate repair to accommodate the casualties. Three weeks later, then, Super Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, struck.

Image courtesy of ABC News

These unfortunate circumstances and devastating surprises of our Earth are, of course, unforeseen and most of the time unpredicted. These are sudden and in an instant – so quick and sensitive to matters of life and death. Similar to our learnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, may we not forget the disasters we have encountered in the past. May we all direct our efforts into providing better policies and programs that may lessen possible consequences or casualties, as we work towards a future that is with lesser risks and assured protection.



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