Manila, Philippines – The government has allotted P21.7 billion for disasters this year but still does not have a comprehensive calamity-mitigation plan.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino said this is unfortunate since the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had already completed its geohazard mapping of the entire country in 2009 and determined which areas are subject to risks, from low to heavy.
Moreover, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria) under Dr. Peter Tiangco had already made these maps available to all interested parties, from the national government to local government units (LGUs) and even the private sector.
Last week, the Iuvenis Orbis Geological Fraternity of the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS) in Diliman, Quezon City led by Joel S. Diaz sponsored a forum on these risks and bared possible responses and concrete plans to counter calamities.
Dr. Renato Solidum of the Phil ippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) also revealed the various scenarios in case huge earthquakes hit the West Valley Fault and the Manila Trench that cuts a wide swath underneath Manila Bay.
Solidum’s paper said 18 simulations were made and showed that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hitting the West Valley Fault would cause severe damage on the immediate environs of the fault, including Ayala-Alabang, while a magnitude 7.9 earthquake at the Manila Trench would trigger a tsunami that would hit land in an hour and rattle the eastern half of the National Capital Region (NCR).
Liquefaction would occur in areas along the West Valley Fault, including areas in Quezon City, Marikina City, Pasig City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Manila, Pasay City, Parañaque City, and Las Piñas City.
A severe tremor would lead to ﬁres in many areas, said the Solidum study, and conflagrations would hit urban poor communities and houses made of light materials due to electrical short circuits and exploding petroleum and gas tanks would spread fire in these areas.
The paper, Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study, showed heavy damage to 168,300 residential buildings or 12.7 percent of the total, and partly damage 339,800 or 25.6 percent if a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits the West Valley Fault.
Between eight percent and 10 percent of public buildings will be damaged heavily and 20 percent to 25 percent will be hit partially.
Eleven percent of buildings from 10 storeys to 30 storeys would be damaged heavily while 27 percent would be damaged partially. Buildings from 30 storeys to 60 storeys would sustain heavy damage while 12 percent would be damaged partially.
Metro Manila has 1,325,896 buildings. Based on a population of 9,932,560, the study projected fatalities at 33,500 (0.3 percent) and the injured at 113,600 or 1.1 percent of the population.
The worst case scenarios showed heavy damage to seven bridges and two sustaining moderate damage. At least 4,000 points in water distribution pipes that are 4,615 kilometers long would be broken and 30 kilometers of power lines out of 4,862 kilometers would be cut. Ninetyfive kilometers of telephone cables would be cut off out of the total length of 13,351 kilometers. (Marvyn N. Benaning)