Metro Manila less than 50 percent ready for big earthquake, says MMDA chief

A pedicab driver fixes his umbrella to fight the searing heat in Manila on Thursday. Weather bureau PAGASA recorded the hottest temperature so far this year in Metro Manila that reached 35 degrees Celsius with a heat index of 41 degrees Celsius at around 1 p.m.(MNS photo)

A pedicab driver fixes his umbrella to fight the searing heat in Manila on Thursday. Weather bureau PAGASA recorded the hottest temperature so far this year in Metro Manila that reached 35 degrees Celsius with a heat index of 41 degrees Celsius at around 1 p.m.(MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The National Capital Region is less than 50 percent ready to deal with the fallout of a high-magnitude earthquake, the head of the Metro Manila Development Authority said in an earthquake preparedness forum on Friday.

Speaking at the GMA News Online-I M Ready Earthquake Preparedness Forum, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said Metro Manila’s earthquake readiness leaves much to be desired.

“Kung ige-grade ko ang kahandaan natin para sa isang lindol, siguro below 5 (out 10),” said Tolentino.

The forum was organized in light of the recent release of the Valley Fault System (VFS) Atlas by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), which mapped the areas affected by earthquake faults in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

The VFS is composed of two segments: the East Valley Fault running through Rizal, and the West Valley Fault, running through Bulacan, Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite, and Laguna.

PHIVOLCS has previously warned about possible impending activity from the West Valley Fault.

The West Valley Fault could possibly generate a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, almost as strong as the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal last month, while the East Valley Fault could generate a magnitude 6.2 earthquake.

Tolentino said that a high-magnitude earthquake could end up devastating Metro Manila.

“Metro Manila has a booming economy, pero kaya ba nating tanggapin na pag may lindol ay magugunaw ang kalahati nito?” he said.

In case of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake from the West Valley Fault, 31,000 to 33,500 people could die, according to estimates based on previous studies conducted by PHIVOLCS in partnership with the the Metro Manila Development Authority, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and Geosciences Australia.

The studies also estimated the cost of rehabilitation at around P1.8 to 2.3 trillion.

“Kaya ba natin tanggapin, kung magkalindol sa Metro Manila, na ilang buwan bago tayo maka-ahon at ilang libo ang mamamatay?” Tolentino added. (MNS)

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