Earthquake drills and disaster preparations will continue in Metro Manila because these are necessary to better equip the people and to minimize the impact of a big quake that may shut down the country’s premier region, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday.
Coloma noted that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) had taken steps to mitigate effects of such disaster.
As part of its disaster-mitigation measures, the MMDA is simulating what it calls “Metro Manila shutdown” by identifying possible evacuation sites and mapping out contingency plans for the “Big One.”
Such simulation will give officials an idea about the scale of the devastation and how fast agencies can render basic services.
Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, had warned that a 7.2 earthquake emanating from the West Valley Fault may kill as many as 37,000 people and injure 140,000 others. The economic losses would reach P2.5 trillion.
Solidum said such big quake will affect 13 percent of residential buildings, 10 percent of buildings that have 30 stories and two percent of high-rise buildings.
Devastation wrought by an earthquake can be made worse by hazards that come in wake of a temblor such as fires, liquefaction and landslides.
To demonstrate the effects of a big earthquake on communities, MMDA officials will begin meeting with local officials this week.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino had admitted that a really strong quake can devastate Metro Manila.
“We don’t intend to create panic or anxiety. What is important is that we are knowledgeable and prepared. What we want is to make people ready and safe,” Coloma said.
He also noted that the primary objective of the government “is to inform the public about the dangers that can be brought by a strong tremor.”
“We have experienced that in many parts of the country and we know that if we are caught off guard, there will be dire consequences,” Coloma said over Radyo ng Bayan.
“The preparations being undertaken by the MMDA are timely,” he added.