Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Get Ready for The Big One!

July 18, 2008, was a marked date last year. Brazilian Juseleeno Nobulega Daroose predicted an earthquake with a 8.1 magnitude will shake the Philippines on that date. The predicted tremor will cause great destruction and deaths of thousands of Filipinos.

Earthquakes cannot be predicted and the July 18 did not happen. Since July 18 is around the corner again, we expect another prediction from the Brazilian in the light of a United Nations advisory for the Philippines to be ready for an upcoming big earthquake. A quake with a magnitude of 7 or higher on the Richter scale is sure to hit Metro Manila, they say, but the bigger question is when exactly this will happen.

Arjun Kartoch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Emergency Service Branch said that the big earthquake may hit Metro Manila anytime with devastating results. He based this on the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative (EMI) report published in 2004 predicting that an earthquake with a high magnitude will surely occur because of the Philippine Fault Zone (also called the Marikina Valley Fault System). According to the report, the death toll may reach 35,000, some 120,000 people may be injured while around 175,000 buildings will be damaged.

Kartoch’s notes coincides with what Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Director Renato Solidum Jr. said on radio recently. Solidum noted that we have an active fault (the so-called Marikina fault), and if we fail to prepare, “around 38 percent of residential buildings, 14 percent of high-rise buildings and 35 percent of public buildings will be affected.”

We know we have an active fault line, we are on the ring of fire. Where is the Marikina Valley Fault System? It is northeast of Manila and crosses Marikina, Pasig going to Muntinlupa down to the south. It is very near. Are we prepared for the big one?

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