Vacate homes, quake faults ‘residents’ told

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THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Monday advised people living in buildings and houses sitting on the Valley Fault System (VFS) to move out because they have a very small chance of surviving a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

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Phivolcs Director Renato U. Solidum Jr. said residents should first coordinate with their local officials to find out if there are other options available for them.

“If they are at the center (of the fault), we can’t do anything about it,” Solidum said at the weekly Kapihan sa Diamond forum in Ermita, Manila.

“My advise first is to discuss (with local officials). It would be drastic if they abandon (their houses) immediately. Find out possible solutions if remedies are still available to protect their houses and buildings,” he said.

Solidum said these houses or buildings can be strengthened through engineering intervention.

Concerned LGU units and Phivolcs geologists will conduct a detailed inspection and assessment of houses and buildings along the fault line to inform the public about the danger they face.

“Everybody, not just the private and government agencies, should comply with risk reduction rules. Everybody should know where the potential dangers or hazards are,” Solidum further said.

The Phivolcs, he said, will release a “How Safe is My House?” guideline so that the public can asses how they will fare in case of an earthquake.

“With that “How Safe is My House” manual, people will immediately know if their house is strong enough or otherwise. For every material that you used for your house such as hollow blocks or steel, you will get a corresponding score. If you score high, then it would mean your house is sound,” Solidum explained.

The Phivolcs, together with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently launched a detailed and updated map of two major faults.

Cities and towns that traverse the 100-kilometer West Valley Fault may experience earthquakes of up to magnitude 7.2 while those near the 10-kilomter East Valley Fault may be jolted by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake.

The West Valley Fault cuts through the cities of Quezon, Marikina, Makati, Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa and the provinces of Bulacan (Dona Remedios Trinidad, Norzagaray, San Jose del Monte City), Rizal (Rodriguez), Laguna (San Pedro City, Biñan City, Sta. Rosa City, Cabuyao and Calamba City), and Cavite (Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez and Silang).

The East Valley Fault meanwhile lies near the towns of Rodriguez and San Mateo in Rizal province.

Shutdown
The MMDA meanwhile proposed to shutdown Metro Manila for a day to conduct an earthquake drill.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino made the pitch when he briefed the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.

“There’ll be simultaneous exercises . . . we’ll have daytime and night time scenario. We’ll do this not to scare, but prepare. We’ll do it at least once a year. The ideal is twice a year, but once a year will be fine rather than having the “drill” when the earthquake is already happening,” Tolentino said.

“In case of the shutdown, there’ll be no traffic lights, communication lines will be down . . . Evacuation plans should be enforced. We’ll see how parents [whose children are in school], the public in transit . . . even the malls, will respond,” he added.

“Yung ‘lugi puwedeng mabawi eh, pero [ang]buhay ng tao, hindi [You can recover financial losses, but not human life],” Tolentino stressed.

The MMDA is set to hold Earthquake Rescue Skills Olympics on June 2.

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2 Comments

  1. I am not an expert but I read somewhere that faults are in constant movement mostly too slight for us to notice as the faults adjust to pressures bearing on them. I wonder if Phivolcs is able to detect such movements and advise us that perhaps these slight movements somehow relieve any mounting pressure that can lead to a massive movement that will cause an earthquake of high intensity. While I worry about the possibility of such massive movement of the faults I also pray that somehow the slight adjustments that have been occurring in the many years since the last earthquake will spare us from another devastating movement.