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MANILA, Philippines – Emphasizing the Filipino youth’s a role in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), Commissioner Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes of the National Youth Commission visited two schools in Manila to drum up support for earthquake preparedness.
“The youth is in the forefront of disaster response efforts serving us volunteers. We have an opportunity to show our commitment as DRRM partners by participating in the July 30 earthquake drill,” Dantes told thousands of students on Thursday, July 23.
The Metro Manila-wide exercise dubbed #MMshakedrill is part of Oplan Metro Yakal, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) initiative to prepare for a powerful earthquake that may hit the National Capital Region. It will be conducted at 10:30 am on Thursday, July 30.
On that day, government and private sector earthquake drill efforts and initiatives will be plotted on MovePH‘s Project Agos alert map, which has incorporated the MMDA’s hazard maps for Metro Manila. (Click the image below that leads to the Project Agos map)
Disaster risk in schools
Dantes, who leads the youth commission’s efforts on DRR, first spoke with students and teachers of San Sebastian College (SSC), one of the oldest private schools in the country. It was SSC’s first time to conduct an earthquake drill.
While the buildings of the college are sturdy, SSC may face risks posed by older structures surrounding the school. During the drill, SSC also tested its fire preparedness.
Dantes also joined the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) community, which conducted training in preparation for the “Big One.”
PUP is one of the biggest state universities in the country with an estimated student population of 45,000 in its Manila campus alone. It is exposed to many hazards because of its proximity to Pasig river and the Pandacan oil depot. Its narrow road network and the huge urban poor community surrounding the school also increase its exposure and vulnerability to hazards.
Dantes commended the initiatives of SSC and PUP on disaster awareness and preparedness. He called on school administrators, faculty, students, and parents to take seriously the threat posed by the “Big One.”
“We know that we’re dealing with different types of disasters, but this big quake poses a huge threat that is scaring a lot of people,” Dantes said, stressing that preparedness is key to reducing the risks.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Metro Manila is due for the “Big One” – a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that will occur if the West Valley Fault moves.
Earlier studies conducted by PHIVOLCS indicate that should a magnitude-7.2 earthquake strike along the West Valley Fault, Metro Manila and surrounding provinces could be affected, including areas beyond the fault system. (READ: Schools, hospitals near West Valley Fault)
The death toll may reach around 35,000 within the first hour after the earthquake, at least 100,000 may be injured, according to a study. (See simulation maps on this story: What dangers await when the West Valley Fault moves?)
To prepare for an earthquake, PHIVOLCS advised residents and building administrators to make sure their structures strictly adhere to the building code and are retrofitted accordingly. Communities and families are also advised to prepare their respective evacuation and survival plans. (READ: All you need to know about preparing for earthquakes) – Rappler.com