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Town mayor: Evacuees may celebrate next year in centers

Residents in some quake-hit areas in Davao del Sur spent the Christmas holiday in tents and evacuation areas, a municipal mayor said.

“It was far from the normal celebration of Christmas in the previous years,” said Magsaysay Mayor Arthur Davin.

Davin said that the recent series of earthquakes have caused so much trauma and fear to the residents.

“We are still experiencing aftershocks from time to time. We still fear that a strong earthquake might strike our land again. It’s better to be prepared,” he said.

It takes a lot of time to recover, with some aftershocks moderately strong, the mayor added.

The series of quakes, the latest being the strongest magnitude 6.9 earthquake on Dec. 15, severely affected at least 1,600 families in the third-class town of Magsaysay with a population of about 53,000.

Davin said that some residents are back to having business but the situation of the place is far from normal.

“Residents cannot function that well because of fear,” he said.

The mayor said they added more centers to cater those residents whose houses were totally damaged.

“They will still be spending the whole holiday season in tents and evacuation centers,” he added.

Some residents have decorated their tents with Christmas lights and other holiday decorations. The mayor said that some residents prepared a simple celebration for Christmas.

“We are still thankful for all the help we receive. We are still thankful that we are still here to celebrate Christmas. At least in our little ways, we are able to spend Christmas together with our families,” he said.

The mayor said donations are still coming from different sectors, and it makes the residents happy knowing that they are supported with the help they receive.

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