Experts take on the ‘Big One’

THE Carlos P. Romulo Foundation has organized a two-day conference aimed at preparing the people, the government and private organizations for a big disaster.

Dubbed as Building a Disaster-Resilient Philippines, the forum at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City from April 25-26, discussed how various national agencies with the help and close coordination with the private sector and local government units would respond in case of a big quake.

The event presented a number of local and international climate and disaster experts, including Dr. Satoru Nishikawa of Japan who shared the lessons learned from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

One of the topics highlighted on Tuesday was the contingency plan prepared by the government in the National Capital Region, which was presented by Ramon Santiago, head of the Metro Manila Development Authority-Crisis Monitoring and Management Center.

The Metro Manila Earthquake Contingency Plan or Oplan Metro Yakal Plus, Santiago said, is the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council’s response to the possibility of a 7.2 magnitued movement of the West Valley Fault with intensity eight ground shaking.

Another forum speaker, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum, said the intensity of the ground shaking from the WVF with a 7.2 Magnitude earthquake will not only affect Metro Manila, but will also be felt in the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna.

“We must have disaster imagination to prepare for it [disaster],” said Solidum.

He said with an Intensity 8 earthquake, the scenarios of fire, collapsed structures and hazardous traffic incidents would occur.

Solidum advised people to learn the “duck, cover and hold” action, which would result in a decrease in the risk of injuries during the quake.

He cautioned against entering buildings where an earthquake has just struck, warning that these structures may eventually collapse during the tremors’ aftershocks.

Mitigating disaster.  Ambassador Roberto Romulo  delivers a speech  during a forum on ‘Building  a Disaster-Resilient Philippines hosted by the Carlos Romulo Foundation, Zuellig Family Foundation,The Manila Observatory, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation and Arise. Inset shows Dr. Renato Solidum Jr. (left) Undersecretary  of the Department of Science and Technology and Officer-in-Charge of Phivolcs, and  Ramon Santiago,  DRRM Adviser and Head of Metro Manila Crisis Monitoring and Management, taking turns fielding questions during the forum held at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City. Lino Santos
“Our safety is really dependent on our awareness and preparedness during the earthquake,” said Solidum.

Based on the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperating Agency in 2004, the city of Manila has the highest estimated number of death and injured in the event a powerful earthquake hits the metropolis.

The study showed that the casualty estimates in Manila in case a nighttime 7.2 magnitude quake strikes is 6,200.

The data also showed that Quezon City has the biggest estimate of damaged residential buildings with 26,900 damaged houses followed by Manila with 26,200, Pasig (23,000), Muntinlupa (13,500) and Taguig (11,600).

Based on the Oplan Yakal contingency plan, Metro Manila will be divided into four quadrants.

At present, the East Quadrant command center is located at Light Railway Transit - 2 train depot in Santolan, Pasig City; North Quadrant at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City; South Quadrant at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City; and West Quadrant at the Intramuros Golf Course in Manila.

The golf courses will also be used as relief distribution hub, trauma centers, mobile hospitals, training and command post based on the agreement made by the agency and the management of the golf courses. 

Topics: Experts take on the ‘Big One’

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