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Magnitude 5.4 earthquake in Batangas could be felt in Manila

The epicentre of today’s quake

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake that hit Batangas today (Tuesday, April 4) could be felt in parts of Metro Manila and throughout south Luzon.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum said the quake hit about five miles northwest of Tingloy town at 8.58pm.

There was no threat of a tsunami but aftershocks were expected, he added.

There have not yet been any reports of injury or serious damage.

Mr Solidum said: “We don’t expect significant damage in many areas but we need to make sure that the other areas near the epicentre would report there are slight damages.

“At this stage, the highest intensity reported so far is intensity VI in Batangas City, and the rest will be much lower.”

Intensity four was reported in Makati City and Obando, Bulacan, while intensity was was reported in Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Santa Ana, Manila, Dasmarinas and General Trias, Cavite, and Lucena City, Quezon.

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Mr Solidum has again urged residents of Metro Manila and nearby areas to be prepared for a devastating quake that could kill thousands.

“Everyone must learn from the recent effects of the magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Surigao del Norte,” he said. “If a similar event happens in a highly urbanised area, the effects can be more devastating.”

Scientists at Phivolcs have long been warning that the West Valley Fault is overripe for dramatic activity.

The fault, Mr Solidum said, tends to move every 400 years or so. The last major quake along the fault was in 1658 — or 357 years ago.

“Therefore, fault can move within our generation,” he said. “But to say exactly when this will move, there is no evidence to use, for us to to say exactly when.”

However, although it’s impossible to predict an exact date, Mr Solidum said preparations should start now. “That means that there are some buildings which need to be inspected and evaluated and retrofitted and that is a massive endeavour.

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“If we do not start doing this, we cannot make the number of casualties much less that what can be expected.”

The 62-mile fault runs beneath the cities and towns of Bulacan, Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna.

A 2004 study, conducted with the assistance of Japanese seismologists, demonstrated how a magnitude 7.2 quake could kill up to 34,000 people and injure untold others, while causing calamitous damage to buildings and infrastructure.

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