All you need to know about preparing for earthquakes

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All you need to know about preparing for earthquakes
Here's a compilation of all earthquake-related stories on Project Agos ranging from basic information on the hazard to tips on what to do before, during and after an earthquake

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – For the past years, earthquakes with magnitudes as high as 8 have brought destruction to different areas in the Philippines. The country is located along the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire – a 40,000 kilometer circle of interconnected fault lines around the Pacific Ocean, where seismic activities such as earthquakes occur on a daily basis.

Experts say that within our lifetime, Metro Manila, the country’s capital, could be hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake from the West Valley Fault. This earthquake, referred to as the “Big One,” is expected to kill about 33,500 people and destroy about 40% of the structures.

To educate the public and to prepare for the “Big One,” the Metro Manila Development Authority organized a metro-wide earthquake drill to be conducted on Thursday, July 30.  All cities in Metro Manila are expected to join the drill. (READ: MMDA pushes for metrowide earthquake drill)

Rappler compiles a list of stories we have published related to earthquakes so that the public is equipped with better knowledge about dealing with earthquakes.

Which areas in the country are vulnerable to earthquakes?

Strongest earthquakes in the Philippines

  • This is a map that shows where the strongest earthquakes that ever hit the Philippines have occured in the past. It also includes the number of casualties and cost of damages (when available) from these earthquakes.

How vulnerable is Manila to earthquakes?

  • This is a story about the earthquake that destroyed the Manila Cathedral. It explains how vulnerable the city of Manila is to earthquakes.

Schools, hospitals near West Valley Fault

  • This is a list of facilities near the West Valley Fault.

What happens during earthquakes?

Remembering the 1990 Luzon Earthquake

  • This looks back at what happened when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nueva Ecija, causing buildings in Baguio, Cabanatuan, and Dagupan to collapse and killing thousands of people in Luzon. It is one of the strongest earthquakes that ever hit the Philippines.

Sonia Roco: Eyewitness to the 1990 Luzon earthquake

  • This looks back at the experiences of survivors and rescuers of the 1990 Luzon earthquake

Faith and Science: Lessons from the 1990 Luzon earthquake

  • Taking into consideration eye-witnesses accounts, this story explores lessons learned from the 1990 Luzon earthquake which may be applied when the “Big One” hits Metro Manila.

Looking back: The 1968 Casiguran earthquake

  • This looks back at what happened when a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Casiguran, Aurora. Despite Manila being relatively far from the epicenter, it caused several buildings in the city to collapse, burying more than a hundred people alive. It is the last strongest earthquake to affect the city so far.

What dangers await when the West Valley Fault moves?

  • This explains how a strong earthquake from the West Valley Fault can affect Metro Manila in terms of casualty and structural damage based on scenarios from various earthquake studies. It includes maps of areas that could sustain the worst damages from earthquake-related hazards.   

Is the ‘Triangle of Life’ a hoax?

  • This explains why Doug Coup’s Triangle of Life theory is a hoax, and why people should be careful of what they post over the Internet.

#TalkThursday: Metro Manila earthquake scenarios

  • Phivolcs director Renato Solidum talks about the different earthquake scenarios that can happen in Metro Manila.

INFOGRAPHIC: How powerful is a 7.2-magnitude earthquake?

  • To know what to expect when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits Metro Manila, here’s an infographic comparing its effects to different things.

Key facts on the Nepal quake

  • Here are some facts, in numbers, about Nepal’s worst natural disaster in 80 years.

The Nepal quake, its economic and poverty impacts

  • An explanation on how two succeeding earthquakes affected the economy of Nepal.

What is being done to prepare for earthquakes?

How prepared is Metro Manila for a strong quake?

  • This is a summary of the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study which explores the impact of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake from the West Valley Fault.

How Makati village along fault line prepares for the ‘Big One’

  • This case study looks into the disaster preparedness efforts of a village in Makati. The city, where the country’s financial district is located, is considered the most prepared for the big earthquake.

Businesses should have continuity plans for disasters – MMDA, OCD

  • This is a list of mass evacuation sites in Metro Manila where you can go to after an earthquake. It also includes tips on what business owners need to do to prepare for the Big One.

LGU contingency plans should be tested, reguarly updated – DILG

  • This shows a list of Metro Manila LGUs that already have contingency plans for earthquakes


Tips on how to prepare yourself, your family and community for an earthquake

CHECKLIST: What barangays should prepare for an earthquake

  • A list of earthquake preparedness measures provided by the Department of the Interior and local Government (DILG)-National Capital Region for barangays. 

CHECKLIST: What should households prepare for an earthquake

  • A list of earthquake preparedness measures provided by DILG – National Capital Region. 

Earthquake tips: what to do before, during, and after

  • An infographic from Phivolcs listing what to do before, during and after an earthquake

Earthquake tips for drivers: Don’t panic

  • Step-by-step guide on what to do when you find yourself in a moving car during an earthquake

Earthquake tips for train commuters

  • Tips on what to do when you’re inside a moving train during an earthquake

#EarthquakePH: What to do during aftershocks

  • Tips on what to do if there are aftershocks

After an earthquake, what should house, building owners do next?

  • Tips on what to do next after an earthquake

12-point checklist for an earthquake-resistant house

  • A checklist to identify if your house is earthquake-resistant

Part 1: Can your house withstand major earthquakes?

  • An interactive quiz based on the “How Safe is My House” checklist by PHIVOLCS, the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which laymanizes essential features of the National Structural Code of the Philippines.

Part 2: What makes buildings earthquake-ready?

  • A summary of the important points in the National Structural Code of the Philippines, providing essential features of an earthquake-ready house.

Project MOVE: Preparing for earthquakes

  • A 40-minute conversation with Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum and safety and disaster risk reduction advocate Martin Aguda on how the public should prepare for the “Big One.”

Preparing your family for an earthquake

  • A list of things your family needs to do to prepare for earthquakes.

What to keep in a disaster kit

  • A list of things to include in your disaster kit.

What will you do if a quake strikes?

  • Tips on what to do when an earthquake strikes. It includes a video of Project – DINA showing things to do in the event of an earthquake.


The Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is a Project Agos partner. The project is supported by the Australian Government.

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