The number of casualties from the Magnitude 6.9 earthquake that rocked northern Negros Oriental rose to 42 as of Sunday, a report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

The report as of 6 p.m. Sunday said that of the 42 dead, 17 were from Guihulngan City, nine from La Libertad, eight from Jimalalud, three from Tayasan, two each from Manjuyod and Ayungon and one from Bindoy.

These government units are part of the 1st district of Negros Oriental.

The PDRRMC also reported, as of last count 60 missing persons with rescue workers from government and private groups still having bad weather in retrieval operations at landslide areas in Solonggon, La Libertad and Planas, Guihulngan.

About 23,000 families were affected by the quake, with many left homeless and camped out at temporary shelters.

Three bridges earlier rendered impassable have already became passable for light vehicles with the Department of Public Works and Highways acting on orders of President Benigno Aquino III to immediately find alternate routes or to temporarily fix damaged roads and bridges in the north.

President Aquino visited Guihulngan City and Dumaguete City last week and conferred with national, provincial and local government officials on the disaster.

Reports also said that some P30-million worth of irrigation had been damaged, while 209 schools were also destroyed. Of these, 582 buildings and 1,016 classrooms need replacement, major and minor repairs, the PDRRMC said.*JFP