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Legarda Saddened by Nepal Quake Tragedy, Renews Call for Disaster Preparedness

April 27, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda has expressed deep concern over the tragedy caused by the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday, which claimed at least 2,200 lives.

“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 stressed.

Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, said such tragedy also serves as a reminder of the essential role of disaster risk reduction and management in saving lives and livelihoods especially in vulnerable communities like in the Philippines.

The Senator stressed that there are lessons we must learn and relearn from this latest catastrophe. “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.”

She reiterated that earthquake and other disasters can happen without warning as she recalled the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2004 which 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 to 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 explained.

Legarda added, “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.”