Last July 30, the entire Metro Manila participated in a simultaneous activity called the Metro Manila Shake Drill, an earthquake drill organized by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in coordination with various risk reduction and rescue teams. The aim of this activity was to promote awareness on the possibility of a deadly earthquake with the presence of the West Valley Fault in the eastern part of the metropolis as well to educate the people on what to do if and when this earthquake strikes.
Many establishments, groups, as well as the general public, participated in this activity as they practiced the techniques on what to do when an earthquake hits and witnessed the various simulations like accidents and injuries that would arise from an earthquake, to give an idea on what to do when these incidents occur.
From the looks of things, it was a “success,” if that would be the proper term of putting it considering what the activity is about. And this is thanks to the active participation of everyone involved in the drill. Here’s hoping the lessons of this activity would not be lost if and when (which I hope would not happen anytime soon) the earthquake will strike.
We can only hope as well that in the event of such calamity, our disaster management personnel and others would be as prepared and well-coordinated as they have shown in the activity. Let us remember that the occurrence of an earthquake cannot be predicted and there is no time given for prior preparations. We can only hope that the capabilities shown off by the MMDA, emergency and risk reduction personnel are not for show only for the activity.
The earthquake drill itself is just part of a greater campaign that has been raised in recent years to create awareness on the existence of the faultlines in and near the metropolis and how a movement of these fault lines would impact the metropolis as a whole. Most notable among them is the aforementioned West Valley Fault Line which passes through several residences and structures, not to mention those that lie just beside the fault line itself. You can check out the extent of the fault system through this customized Google Map.
The fact that these structures are lying above or just a few meters near the fault line is something that should cause concern. How come these structures were built in the first place when, as far as I know, the fault line was already known to exist is something that baffles me. Or it could be argued that at the time the structures were built, people had no clear idea before how far the fault line goes until the recent studies of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. (PHIVOLCS) But in the end, we can only hope these structures, as well as the structures in the metropolis and surrounding areas are strong enough to withstand the tremors that will be brought by this possible earthquake.
With the uncertainty of if and when an earthquake would strike, right now, knowledge, preparation, and alertness are the tools we all have to be equipped with to face it. Let us all do our part for disaster readiness.