No faith in the midst of ruin


(By Katrina Stuart Santiago, Opinion, October 25, 2013)
I share with the author’s sentiment. I lament the heritage structures being destroyed by natural hazards and phenomena which are already quite relatively understood by local scientists and engineers, and the practical solutions to it are easily adapted to local conditions. As an engineer who has worked numerously for a lot of seismic evaluation, and rehabilitation/retrofit of buildings and assets here in our country and in several countries (sometimes with more moderate seismicity compared to Pinas), the solutions to mitigate seismic hazards are often simple, relatively cheap and can be sourced locally. But the mindset of people here is that earthquakes are rare, seismic-resistant structures are expensive to build and implement, and business-as-usual attitude towards disasters. This short term and near-sighted view of durable assets such as buildings and infrastructures by the leaders both in government and private sector needs to be changed. All must realize that any disastrous failures of buildings and critical/lifeline infrastructures such as power, water, ports/airports and bridges will affect not just the locally damaged areas but will also have a socio-economic impact in a regional ands even the national scale.


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