• MMDA to conduct quake survey

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    THE Metro Manila Authority on Thursday will conduct an earthquake risk survey after getting the approval of mayors in the metropolis.

    MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said local chief executives, who are also members of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), have enacted a resolution for such purpose.

    “Metro mayors have already approved in a form of resolution the conduct of earthquake risk survey,” he said.

    Tolentino suggested the proposal following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas on October 15. The quake killed more than 200 people.

    He stressed that the earthquake risk survey is important because it will identify public and private buildings, including residential houses, that have structural deficiencies. The survey will also let engineers and building officials implement corrective measures. Similar to a population census, the earthquake survey shall be simultaneously carried out by the 17 local government units (LGUs) in the metropolis, tapping engineering students from various universities as enumerators.

    Tolentino said that funding for the quake survey will be souldered by LGUs.

    “In view of the clamor to revisit some of the provisions of the National Building Code, we should start this earthquake risk audit so we can plan and implement contingency measures in case a strong earthquake hit Metro Manila,” Tolentino explained.

    He said the enumerators will do the house-to-house inspection and survey, which will focus on the structural integrity of the structure.

    “A hazard risk audit of specific structures should be made quickly based on engineering analysis and earthquake reduction formulas. Although earthquakes are natural and unavoidable, buildings and structures do not need to collapse or be seriously damaged to save lives,” Tolentino said.

    He said the data gathered from the house-to-house survey will be used by local building officials and engineers to enforce preventive and corrective measures to the identified structures.

    “The result of the earthquake census should lead to retrofitting of public and private buildings based on risk assessment and cost benefit analysis and other engineering, seismic, and geological models to reduce quake structural deficiencies, thereby preventing unnecessary loss of lives and properties,” Tolentino further said.

    Tolentino also cited the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) findings a 7.2 magnitude quake may kill 37,000 in Metro Manila alone.

    He said the multi-hazard and risk maps given to the 17 mayors will help in the preparation of plan and implementation of contingency measures in case of disaster.

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