Province, City, Prepare for Future Quakes

DAVAO ORIENTAL – Inculcating a culture of preparedness from the disastrous effects of earthquakes, the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental and the City Government of Mati have organized a forum on Saturday, June 16, in preparation for this year’s second quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED).

The Province of Davao Oriental, specifically the City of Mati, was chosen as the pilot area for this year’s earthquake drill set on June 21.

No less than Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr., Undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology and Officer-In-Charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, led the orientation of participants consisting of Local Risk Reduction and Management Action Officers of all eleven towns and city as well as barangay officials of all twenty six villages in the City of Mati.

During the forum, Usec. Solidum stressed the importance of beefing up disaster preparedness. He said that while earthquakes are natural disasters, the hazards that come along with it are basically man-made.

Earthquake hazards include groundshaking which commonly results in the destruction of buildings, posing a great threat for injury and fatalities. Another common earthquake hazard is liquefaction which causes foundations and supports of infrastructures to sink. Earthquakes also trigger other hazards such as landslides, tsunamis, and fires.

Usec. Solidum said that the goals of disaster resilience are to reduce various losses especially to lives; ensure effective and efficient disaster response, and fast recovery, wherein local government units from the province down to the barangays have a huge role to play.

He said in order to be disaster-resilient, LGUs need to develop exposure database; improve scenario estimates using updated information; boost information campaigns; enforce policies on land use; develop business and Public Service Continuity Plans; capacity building; and full-scale exercises and drills.

Strict observance to standard design and construction and following the building code are also strongly recommended.

He said the key to disaster preparedness is imagination. “We have to anticipate things and think for possible solutions,” he said.

The Province of Davao Oriental which sits on top of active faultlines has a history of being hit by massive quakes. In 1924, it was hit by a magnitude 8.3 earthquake – described as the biggest that ever hit the country. Meanwhile, years before that, in 1893, a magnitude 7.3 hit Monkayo in the neighboring province of Compostela Valley. In May 1992, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook Caraga and Manay in Davao Oriental that triggered a 6-meter high tsunami in Manay town.

Solidum said these could likely happen again with Davao Oriental having active faultlines which include the Mati segment that traverses Barangay Mahayag in Banaybanay, Barangay Calapagan in Lupon; and the villages of Culian, Taguibo, Buso, Sainz and Central in the City of Mati.

However, Solidum said that “areas without faultline are far from being safe during earthquakes,” prompting LGUs and the community alike in taking appropriate and timely actions for preparedness.

REDAS TRAINING

Considering it is difficult to know precisely where the next disaster will strike, there is a need to be prepared for future shocks, says Governor Nelson Dayanghirang.

Governor Dayanghirang signed a memorandum of agreement together with Usec. Solidum, Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Manuel Luis Otchortorena, and DOST Provincial Director Sharon Alegado, for the conduct of the Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System (REDAS) Training.

The program will train key personnel in the use of a database system that predicts severity and the damage that an earthquake will cause in terms of population, economic, etc.

Governor Dayanghirang said the training, as well as earthquake drills, will help promote a culture of preparedness among the people. He added that LGUs must be able to maximize their respective calamity funds by allocating funds for preparedness and awareness. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

 

 

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