Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, along with other transport officials, flew to Surigao on February 11, hours after a notice to airmen (NOTAM) was issued closing the airport due to extensive damage to its runway. The closure was directed to give way to the repair and rehabilitation of the facility. The tower, airport terminal, and facilities had minimal damage. No staff was reported injured.
The Port of Surigao also suffered damage from the earthquake. In an initial assessment report prepared by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port Management Office of Surigao and obtained by PortCalls, varying levels of damage were sustained by the baseport’s passenger terminal building, cargo shed, backup area and wharf, administration building, other concrete pavement, fence, and utilities.
Despite the damages, the port, which is predominantly used by domestic shipping lines with self-sustaining vessels, is still open, although with limited operations, according to PPA.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has sent engineers to Surigao airport to conduct a detailed assessment of facilities and fast track repairs. CAAP, on February 13, said they are unsure when the airport can resume operations as it will take time to assess the damage.
Due to the NOTAM, airlines have suspended flights to Surigao airport. Cebu Pacific, announced that flights to and from Surigao are suspended from February 11 to March 10. Philippine Airlines, meanwhile, has cancelled its flights until March 11. Passengers may rebook and take the Manila-Butuan, Manila-Cagayan, and Manila-Davao flights for free, PAL said.
Affected passengers may be accommodated via mounted Cebu-Butuan-Cebu flights, or rebook or reroute without penalties to alternative stations for travel within 30 days of original departure date, or opt for a full refund or travel fund.
According to the PPA report on the port of Surigao, the backup area and wharf showed heavy damage with a two- to three-inch gap between the alignment of steel gratings. All beams connecting the R.C. (reinforced concrete) pier along berth 3 were severely damaged. The passenger building had moderate damage with visible large cracks and damaged floor tiles, while the roofing system of the cargo shed was severely damaged, with large debris coming from the columns.
The terminal port of Lipata also had impairments to its backup and wharf, passenger terminal building, utilities, and other concrete pavement. The backup area and wharf reflected serious damage, while the passenger terminal building had slight to moderate damage.
The estimated cost of repairing the baseport is P96 million, while another P65.5 million will be needed for repairs at Lipata port.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) dispatched a search-and-rescue vessel from Cebu to deliver clean drinking water to affected areas in Surigao. Around 150 PCG personnel were also mobilized to augment government operations in Surigao.
PCG assets in Surigao include one vessel, five aluminum boats, three trucks, and one vehicle. It has sent 33 personnel to help with repacking relief goods at the Surigao City Hall.
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