Davao City needs quake impact reduction study, says OCD

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 August) — Aside from a disaster management plan, the city needs an impact reduction study that will provide estimates on the number of people who would be killed or injured in case a 7.2-magnitude earthquake occurs, an official of the Office Civil Defense (OCD) XI said.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa NCCC Mall on Friday, OCD XI director Liza Mazo said the city lacks a study like the “Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study”.

Done by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the study estimated around 34,000 deaths and 18,000 injured people if a strong quake hits Metro Manila.

The metropolis has been girding for the “Big One,” a 7.2-magnitude quake that would take place if and when the Marikina West Valley Fault moves.

Mazo said a study like JICA’s is necessary to determine the risk levels for each area in Davao City, which has not been hit by a strong earthquake.

The study will equip the local government to better prepare in extreme cases, she said.

But she added the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Davao has a software that can estimate the number of deaths in a severely affected area.

“Earthquake cannot kill. What kill are the things that fall on the people,” said Desiderio Cabanlit, research specialist at Phivolcs-Davao.

He said that while the city sits on soft soil buildings can withstand a strong jolt with proper engineering interventions.

Infrastructures that were built some 50 or 60 years ago may not be able to withstand a strong earthquake, Cabanlit said.

He urged developers to follow the National Building Code of the Philippines that sets the standards of construction, especially for high-rise buildings.

The city government held its earthquake and tsunami drill for its 21 coastal barangays last July 23, a week ahead of the drills in Metro Manila.

PREPAREDNESS. Members of Task Force Davao tow their rubber boat at Sta. Ana wharf in preparation for an emergency drill amid the rough waters in the Davao Gulf, 04 July 2015. MindaNews file photo by Keith Bacongco
PREPAREDNESS. Members of Task Force Davao tow their rubber boat at Sta. Ana wharf in preparation for an emergency drill amid the rough waters in the Davao Gulf, 04 July 2015. MindaNews file photo by Keith Bacongco

The drill aimed to gauge the preparedness of the coastal communities, test the early warning devices installed in those areas, and mobilize the city’s equipment for disaster response.

Mazo lauded the city for its initiative to better equip the communities with the right knowledge on what to do during disasters.

She said community participation is necessary based on the drills done in Metro Manila.

She said that compared to public schools in the city the participation in the communities needed improvement.

The city’s 911 chief Emmanuel Jaldon previously said that the residents’ level of awareness on disaster risk reduction and management is high but preparedness is low.

He said the residents did not show interest in the drill initiated by the city government or by the barangays. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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