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MMDA: Metro residents must brace for strong quake

/ 05:42 AM May 18, 2015

After conducting a 13-day mission in earthquake-struck Nepal, the head of the Metropolitan Manila Development (MMDA) response and rescue team called on Metro residents to prepare for a strong earthquake by checking the structural integrity of their houses or  buildings.

During the agency’s Sunday radio program, MMDA Flood Control Information Center chief Mon Santiago said that buildings with a good structure would not be easily destroyed, even by a strong earthquake.

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“We should make sure that buildings are structurally safe, even heritage sites, since most of Nepal’s historic buildings were destroyed,” Santiago said.

He added that the MMDA’s  earthquake response plan, Oplan Metro Yakal, would prove really useful should a strong quake hit Metro Manila since it divides the area into four quadrants.

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“There should be no congestion in the entry point of assistance,” he said, noting that it would be easier to respond to a disaster if there would be designated evacuation and staging areas for emergency rescue and response operations.

In 2011, Oplan Metro Yakal identified four possible evacuation areas in Metro Manila in case of a strong quake. These were the Veteran’s golf course in Quezon City, Villamor golf course in Pasay City, the Wack Wack golf course in Mandaluyong City and the Intramuros golf course in Manila.

Santiago noted that the response plan should be expanded to nearby provinces like Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Pampanga which may also be affected by a quake in Metro Manila.

“We should all make sure that our homes and offices are structurally safe and even at the family level, we should be prepared for emergency cases,” he added, noting that Metro Manila does not have enough resources to accommodate an estimated 100,000 patients affected by the disaster.

Santiago said they have long encouraged subdivision residents to undergo disaster-response training, especially those living along the West Valley Fault which spans Rodriguez, Rizal, all the way to Carmona, Cavite.

Last Friday, Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum warned anew about a strong quake hitting Metro Manila and nearby provinces, saying the fault line was ripe for such an occurrence.

According to him, the fault usually moves every 400 to 600 years. He added that the last time a strong quake occurred was in 1658 or 357 years ago.

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Based on a recent study conducted by government agencies and the Australian government, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the metropolis may kill over 37,000 people.

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TAGS: Earthquake, earthquake preparedness, Metro Manila, MMDA, Mon Santiago
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