Quezon City gears up for major earthquake drill

Lou Gepuela
Quezon City gears up for major earthquake drill
Do you and your family know how to prepare for an earthquake? Join authorities in Quezon City as they get ready for the 'Big One'

MANILA, Philippines – How does one prepare the most populated city in the country for the possibility of a catastrophic earthquake?

This is the question that Quezon City leaders hope to answer as the entire city takes part in the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill for the second quarter of 2016.

Neighborhood hazard

The West Valley Fault traverses several subdivisions in Quezon City, such as White Plains, Loyola Grand Villas, Greenmeadows, Blue Ridge B, and Filinvest Homes II. Critical installations, such as schools, hospitals, public utilities, and military facilities, are also in danger should the West Valley Fault move.  

According to the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS), at least 33,500 people will die and 113,600 others will be injured if the West Valley Fault triggers a major quake. Around 40% of all residential structures will also be damaged.  

WARNING. A sign from the Quezon City government educates residents about the West Valley Fault. Rappler file photo

These statistics date back to 2004. Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum explained that if an earthquake were to take place today, projected casualties will be greater due to the expansion and development of urban residences.

The Metro Manila area itself will be physically separated into several sectors, with transportation and mobility severely affected due to the collapse of necessary structures such as the Guadalupe Bridge(READ: Oplan Metro Yakal Plus: Preparing for a megadisaster)

What to expect

On Wednesday, June 22, during the earthquake drill, Quezon City rescuers will test their skills as they respond to a simulated fire at the 14-story Quezon City Hall. Personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the local engineering department, and park officials will be conducting clearing operations at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

BLAZE. A fire rages at Barangay Apolonio Samson in Quezon City on January 1, 2015. The fire reached general alarm, the highest alert, mandating all available fire trucks to respond. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

As these exercises take place, an elite unit of the Quezon City public order and safety department will take the lead in conducting collapsed structure search-and-rescue operations at the same location, while high-angle rescue techniques will be featured at the Quezon Memorial Circle zipline facility.

The local disaster risk reduction and management council will demonstrate their response capability by establishing “pop huts” or temporary shelters beside the main stage of the Quezon Memorial Circle. Quezon City police will also respond to a simulated looting incident at the memorial’s Commonwealth Avenue entrance.

Be prepared 

How should Quezon City residents prepare for a strong quake?

Residents from Barangay Sta Lucia and students at the Batasan Hills National High School may very well be leading the way forward.

Preparing an emergency kit or go bag is an important first step, while making sure that your family knows where to go and what to do in the event of a crisis or calamity is the next crucial step. 

By helping your own family to prepare for an earthquake, you are doing your part in building community resiliency. Do you and your family know what to do in case a tremor strikes?  Test yourselves on June 22!

Interested in taking part in the earthquake drill? Click the photo below and sign up! – Rappler.com

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