Manila city gov't, OCD, NDRRMC conduct earthquake drills on Roxas Blvd.

July 3, 2014 10:50 am 

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, July 2 (PNA) – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the city government of Manila held earthquake drills on Wednesday along Roxs Blvd. near Manila Bay to simulate the possible scenarios during a powerful tremor in Metro Manila.

Director Susan Cruz of the National Capital Region (NCR)-Office of Civil Defense said the exercises were intended to prepare and make people aware on what they will do in case major calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis happen.

According to Cruz, the earthquake drills kicked off in the morning Manila’s efforts for the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) of July where the rescue respondents came from the national and local governments and also included private volunteers on how to work together during emergency situations.

Cruz said the scenarios were based on a simulated 7.2-magnitude quake where Manila would experience an intensity 8 earthquake.

She explained that with an Intensity 8 tremor, the scenarios of fire incidents, tidal waves, collapsed structures and hazardous traffic incidents would occur.

Cruz said there was a simulation of fire incidents in Emerald Garden and a hotel near PAGCOR building, then a traffic incident involving hazardous chemicals.

She also said that the city government of Manila conducted an earthquake and tsunami emergency drill in the afternoon, based on scenarios "brought about by the movement of the Manila trench."

Based on the data presented by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), a movement in the Manila trench could create high tsunami waves 3.5 meters (low tide) to 5.5 meters (high tide) that would reach Manila.

Once the alert is released, residents and responders will be given one hour to evacuate and move to higher grounds.

For his part, NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama urged the public to take the drill seriously so they will know what to do in case major calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis happen.

Meanwhile, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said that the coming of disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis are unpredictable.

"No one can predict when will it happen. So, we must be prepared before it happens from this event… As individual persons, our safety is not solidified to national or local government. Our safety is really dependent on our awareness and preparedness during the earthquake," Solidum stressed.

He said a movement from the West Valley Fault can result to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

"It has long been dormant. The last one was in 1658 or more that 300 years ago. It can happen to us. We must be prepared," Solidum stressed.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said that the city government is allocating P200 million for the purchase of equipment that would boost its disaster preparedness.

He said the money used by the city government came from the real property tax collected by the city government under his term as mayor.

"We raised our real property tax to enable us to buy equipment. Drills on earthquakes and tsunamis are important to make the people aware and prepared for disasters," Estrada said.

For his part, Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Director Johnny Yu said Manila almost has a complete set of equipment such as amphibians and rescue vans. (PNA)

SCS/CLTC

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