WE should bear in mind that deaths and destruction due to earthquake are preventable, according to Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. of the Dept. of Science and Technology (DOST).
Of all natural hazards also, earthquake is the deadliest disaster accounting to 58% of total disaster deaths between 2000-2019, according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) report as announced by Solidum, during the Ceremonial Pressing of the Button for earthquake drill in Tacloban City last Thursday, Nov. 9.
“By now, Filipinos must already know and appreciate what an earthquake disaster means. It is highly likely that we know someone, if not ourselves who experienced impacts of devastating earthquakes in the Philippines in the last two decades,” the Science chief said.
One strong ground breaking, he added, “does not kill” but the collapsed houses, buildings and infrastructures. Often, the cause of the collapse is bad construction practices. It could be that the old or even new buildings do not meet today’s standards.
Solidum said that tools of science should be known and understood “to assist in making earthquake resilient communities to prevent destruction and death.”
DOST has developed tools or apps that are readily usable from PCs, laptops and mobile devices. Some of these are: FaultFinder –tells how far away is the house, workplace or school from earthquake source; Hazard Hunter – tells what are the natural hazards that can affect the neighborhood; GeoanalyticsPH – shows in maps and figures the hazards assessment of the neighborhood and PlanSmart- gives national and local planners the necessary information needed for their development planning needs.
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez for his part said that a lot can be learnt from DOST. “I urge everyone, know where you live, surroundings ninyo pag-aralan ninyo para pagdating ng disasters nakahanda kayo,” he told those present in the event.
Dir. Lord Byron Torrecarion, regional director from the Office of the Civil Defense Vlll, thanked everyone for their participation in the simulation exercise. “For doing this drill, we hope to be better prepared and to keep us right on track to evaluate our shortcomings and to help us prepare for any future eventualities,” he said in his closing remarks. (Nelson Santos PAPI)