Manila: Officials called for greater vigilance following the magnitude 7.7 quake that rocked provinces in the eastern portions of the country Friday evening.
Abigail Valte, deputy presidential palace spokesperson, said the ultimate responsibility in preparing for disasters boils down to the level of the family. She said it the responsibility not just of the government, but of every Filipino to be prepared for calamities.
She said every Filipino family should conduct disaster preparedness drills.
“Do we have family protocols every time there is such an eventuality? Every family member should know what to do,” she said while pointing out that the culture of preparedness starts at home.
The magnitude 7.7 earthquake that struck off the coast of Eastern Samar in the town of Guiuan at around 8.45 pm Friday caused power outages and damaged roads. A woman was buried in a landslide in Cagayan de Oro.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said infrastructure damage from the quake has so far amounted to P12.8 million (Dhs 110,906).
The tremor also prompted the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology to issue a tsunami alert in six provinces located in the country’s eastern seaboard.
Residents living along the coast had fled during the powerful quake while most returned home soon after.
Meanwhile, Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the senate committee on climate change, said that residents of Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila, should prepare for such strong tremors, noting the findings in the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS).
“The MMEIRS revealed high casualties and massive destruction should a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Metro Manila. The study also contains priority actions that should have been undertaken 3-6 years after the study was publicised to reduce the impacts of such a strong tremor,” she said.
Under the MMEIRS assessment, a 7.2-magnitude quake in Metro Manila would destroy 40 per cent of residential buildings, 35 per cent of public buildings, kill 34,000 and injure 114,000 people, and the ensuing likely fires will also result in 18,000 additional fatalities.
“Disaster prevention is a tall order, but it is one well worth the investment. We must prepare ourselves for more frequent natural hazards, keeping in mind that it is only through effective preventive measures that we can save lives,” Legarda said.
The senator explained that among the priority steps that must be undertaken include the promotion of disaster-resilient urban development; ensuring the structural integrity of buildings and critical infrastructure; formulating emergency supply system of water, food and other necessities; and determining open spaces for safe refuge when tremors occur.