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Are we ready for a 7.2 quake? Legarda urges retrofitting of infrastructures

April 27, 2015

FILIPINOS should be ready for a 7.2 -magnitude earthquake, Senator Loren Legarda said on Monday following a strong quake that hit Nepal over the weekend.

She said the tragedy in Nepal should serve as a reminder to all citizens about the essential role of disaster risk reduction and management in saving lives and livelihoods, especially in vulnerable communities like in the Philippines.

“I do not want to sow fear among Filipinos but we have to constantly remind ourselves to prepare for the worst that could happen because we cannot predict when these disasters will strike. We should at least be ready for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake,” Legarda, head of the Senate committee on climate change, said in a statement.

The senator reiterated that earthquake and other disasters could happen without warning, citing the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2004.

The study revealed that a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila could destroy 40% of the residential buildings, damage 35% of all public buildings, kill 34,000 people, injure 114,000 individuals, and the ensuing fires could also result in 18,000 additional fatalities.

Legarda underscored the need to conduct retrofitting of buildings and infrastructure to ensure that they can withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake, as mandated by law.

“Evaluation and retrofitting of public and private infrastructure is crucial in ensuring that buildings, bridges and other similar structures can withstand strong quakes; while the conduct of earthquake drills is also a must in order to equip our citizens with the knowledge of what to do before, during and after such disasters,” she said.

“Among the priority steps that must be undertaken for earthquake preparedness include the establishment of an early warning system for earthquake and tsunami; determining open spaces for safe refuge when temblors occur; and crafting evacuation plans that would help citizens find out the fastest and safest way to reach open spaces and other safe areas,” said the senator.

Legarda also called on the government to extend any possible help to the people of Nepal.

“I wish to convey my profound sympathy and condolences to the people of Nepal. To extend any possible help to them, however modest, is an appropriate humanitarian response the Philippine Government could make in this crucial period,” she further said.

Source: Inquirer