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Legarda Renews Call for Earthquake Preparedness

June 26, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for greater earthquake preparedness efforts, stressing that the occurrence of strong temblors can happen without warning.

Legarda made the statement following the 5.7 magnitude earthquake that hit parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, yesterday. The epicenter of the quake was in Calatagan, Batangas.

“Many citizens even in Metro Manila felt the strength of the earthquake yesterday. We do not want to sow fear among our citizens but we have to constantly remind everyone to prepare for earthquakes because we cannot predict when they will occur. We should at least be ready for a 7.2 magnitude earthquake,” she explained.

The Senator reminded that the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) warned of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila that may destroy 40% of residential buildings, cause 34,000 deaths, injure 114,000 individuals, and the ensuing fires may also result in 18,000 additional fatalities.

Legarda said that retrofitting of buildings and infrastructure and conducting regular safety drills are two of the most important actions that must be taken in preparing for earthquakes.

“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 will enable our citizens to respond quickly and this will equip our people with knowledge of what to do before, during and after such disasters,” she said.

She added that 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.

Legarda also said that concerned government agencies must also ensure that there are back-up systems of vital utilities, especially for communication, that are considered necessary for rescue operations and speedy recovery and rehabilitation efforts.