Today in Philippine history, April 1, 1955, a series of very strong earthquakes jolted all of Mindanao and the southern Visayas

Friday September 18, 2015 ()

Epicenter of the  Mindanao earthquake of April 1, 1955
Epicenter of the Mindanao earthquake of April 1, 1955

On April 1, 1955, a series of very strong earthquakes beginning at 2:18 in the morning, with epicenter between Panguil Bay and Lake Lanao, rocked all of Mindanao, and the southern Visayas, with heavy damage done in Lanao and Occidental Misamis. Many lives were lost in the towns along the shore of Lake Lanao as the water receded and then returned.

The tremors reached up to intensity 8 using a Philippine adaptation of the Rossi-Forel scale with maximun intensity of 9. The earthquake, according to Philippine geologists, was of tectonic origin with epicenter at 7° 55' N 124° 5' E.

President Ramon Magsaysay on the same day, instructed Social Welfare Administrator Pacita Madrigal-Warns to rush assistance to the affected areas. At a special meeting of the Cabinet, Magsaysay organized the Relief and Reconstruction Authority (RRA), with Manuel P. Manahan as Chairman and composed of representatives of all the departments of the Government, to determine the needs in each of the stricken localities.

Today in Philippine history, April 1, 1955, a series of very strong earthquakes jolted all of Mindanao and the southern Visayas

Later the President issued a proclamation declaring the existence of a state of public calamity in Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Lanao, and Surigao and in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Ozamis, Iligan, and Dansalan, prohibiting the hoarding of prime foodstuffs and building material or their sale at prices more than 25% higher than they were a month ago, and authorizing the Constabulary to seize hoarded goods and goods sold at profiteering prices.

The report of RRA on April 6, showed that the number of persons known killed were 225; injured, 898; number of houses destroyed, 2,997; number of families affected, 14,985; extent of disaster area, 382,737 hectares.

Sources:

  1. The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Journal, Volume 31, Number 5, May 1955, Manila
  2. The Lanao Earthquake Philippines, Arturo Alcaraz and Roman Kintanar, Geophysical Abstract 156, April-June 1956.
  3. Photo credit: Google Maps


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