Press Release
February 11, 2012

Legarda to Gov't on Catastrophic Earthquakes:
We Must Prepare for the Big One

Senator Loren Legarda today stressed that the government must make the necessary preparations to avert a devastating disaster should a strong earthquake, like the recent 6.9-magnitude temblor in Negros Oriental, strike again.

Legarda reminded the government about the facts and recommendations contained in the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 2004.

The study revealed that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila would cause the destruction of 40% of the residential buildings, damage 35% of all public buildings, kill 34,000 people, injure 114,000 individuals, and the ensuing fires will also result in 118,000 additional fatalities.

"We know that the Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to earthquakes. The figures contained in the MMEIRS are disturbing indeed. A very strong temblor in Metro Manila is likely to reduce a big part of the city to rubble and kill many thousands, much like what happened in Haiti when it was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010," Legarda pointed out.

"Among the priority steps we must undertake is the establishment of an early warning system for earthquake and tsunami; guarantee the structural integrity of our buildings and infrastructure, and the retrofitting of these critical structures to withstand disasters; and determine open spaces for safe refuge when tremors occur," she explained.

Legarda added that concerned government agencies must also ensure that there are back-up systems of vital utilities that are considered necessary for speedy recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

"Every barangay must craft an evacuation plan that would help citizens find out the fastest and safest way to reach open spaces and other safe areas. Everyone must be informed of what they must do in case an earthquake occurs. Natural hazards may occur just about any time, and our preparedness is our only way to reduce the risks on lives, limbs, and properties," Legarda concluded.

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