Government steps up preparations for ‘Big One’ Manila earthquake

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Big One

Government agencies are scaling up preparations for the ‘Big One’ — the long-feared earthquake expected to hit Manila one day.

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Geologists believe that the potentially 7.6 magnitude ‘Big One’ quake could strike at any time following a movement of the West Valley Plate.

Speaking at a press conference this week, Alan Silor, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications (DICT), said: “We need an inter-agency cooperation so the level of awareness will be high, and the coordination of line agencies will be stronger.

“We want the public to know that if disaster happens, they know the measures to do, so these are the focal issues that we are going to take up.

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DICT and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) are the lead agencies in raising public awareness about preparations for a major earthquake.

The PCOO’s Communications Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan said the role of his office was to “communicate the information needed for citizens to be prepared”.

“It’s very important that all agencies of government are unified and consistent in its messaging for the citizens to be prepared for any natural disaster including the earthquake that’s why we’re all meeting together from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the DICT, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the PCOO and its family of agencies,” he said.

“Our citizens need to be prepared, for example how many litres of water do our citizens need to save? What are the items that are in their emergency bag? What are the procedures once an earthquake happens, where do they go?”

The inter-agency Technical Working Group Resiliency Team held its first meeting yesterday (Wednesday, February 28) to scale up preparations for the “Big One.”

The West Valley Fault, which is one of two major segments of the Marikina Valley Fault System, runs through Metro Manila to the cities of Marikina, Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa.

The fault possesses a threat of a large-scale earthquake with an estimated magnitude as high as 7.6.

Such an earthquake is expected to cause massive loss of life and destruction throughout Metro Manila.

The Philippines, which sits on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire, has had its share of deadly quakes.

The deadliest to hit the Philippines in recent memory was on July 16, 1990, when a magnitude 7.7 quake hit parts of Central and Northern Luzon and killed an estimated 1,621 people.

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