#OplanPagyanig: Marikina to lead nationwide quake drill on March 27
MANILA, Philippines - It is a typical Friday morning. Students are excited to start their summer break and workers are eager to spend the weekend with their families.
Suddenly, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake strikes. What was a peaceful morning turn into a scene similar to an apocalyptic movie. Around 40% of residential buildings have collapsed. Cries of help and panic fill the streets. Sirens from firetrucks and ambulances echo across the city.
This is the scenario Metro Manila faces if the West Valley fault moves, according to the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS), An estimate of 34,000 people will die and 114,000 will be injured in the aftermath. Hospitals, schools, and fire stations will bear the full brunt of the damage.
Then, when you think it’s over, thousands of aftershocks will follow.
How prepared is Metro Manila for such disaster?
Nationwide earthquake drill
On Friday, March 27, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) will hold a nationwide earthquake drill to prepare for the worst case scenario that an earthquake can bring.
According to the memo released by NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama, the drill will help local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies understand their roles when such a calamity occurs. The main objective is to develop a “mechanism to attain unity efforts and a common operational picture” for the scenario, testing the current response systems for loopholes.
This time, Marikina is taking the lead. The city is the ideal setting for the drill since the West Valley fault runs through its metropolitan areas.
The exercises will be held in the following areas in Marikina:
- Marikina Stadium (as the national headquarter)
- Marikina City Hall grounds
- Barangay Socorro
- Marikina City Field Hospital
- Barangay Sto Nino (fire incident)
- Barangay Barangka
- LRT 2 Santolan Station
Aside from Pama, Marikina Mayor Del De Guzman, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, PhiVolcs Director Renato Solidum, and MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino will also participate in the activities.
The reality of earthquakes
The Philippine - being in the Pacific Ring of Fire - has seen the brutality of earthquakes. The 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol in October 2013 left hundreds dead and P2.25 billion worth of infrastructural damage.
In July 1990, a magnitude-8-earthquake hit Northern and Central Luzon. It left a total of 2,412 people dead and an estimated $369 million in damage.
Forty-six years ago, on August 2, 1968, a magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit Casiguran, Aurora. The impact affected buildings even as far as Manila.
Dr Renato Solidum of PhiVolcs emphasized the importance of earthquake drills to constantly remind Filipinos to be prepared.
“Filipinos usually prepare for typhoons and floods because these are frequent. Earthquakes are not so common so we tend to forget them…Some people don’t have proper imagination of what might happen to them and their houses,” he told Rappler.
The public is encouraged to take part in the drill. Rappler partnered with the NDRRMC and the Marikina City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MCDRRMO) to crowdsource videos and photos of people and organizations who will do the Duck, Cover, and Hold exercise at 9am on March 27.
On March 19, MDRRMO responders were trained to use social media and Project Agos to respond to earthquakes. They will also monitor social media websites and the Agos alert map during the nationwide drill.
The activities in Marikina will also be covered via livestream. - Rappler.com
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