Worrying About ‘The Big One’

Worrying About ‘The Big One’

The devastation caused by the killer earthquake of 1990. (Photo: Baguio-Sagada-Cordillera Travels)

An earthquake is such fun when it is over.

— English novelist George Orwell

CALOOCAN CITY, METRO MANILA —The recent 7.3 Magnitude tectonic earthquake that struck Abra province has caused people grave concern, worrying about what has been termed as ‘The Big One’ which has been predicted to happen anytime and is projected to be the worst scenario case when a tremor as strong as that on Wednesday (27 July 2022) in the town of Tayum, Abra province.

According to scientists, ‘The Big One’ could happen when the 100-kilometer West Valley Fault moves to create the disaster.

A tsunami is also foreseen in the scenario set by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and this could gravely affect the greater Metro Manila area and adjacent provinces, including Cavite, specifically the towns of Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez, and Silang.

Recently, the provincial government of Cavite, together with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy Philippines and Adventist Development and Relief Agency Philippines held the Big Preparedness, One Cavite Colloquium. Attended by more than 167 participants from 23 cities and municipalities of Cavite province, 25 members of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), and 20 from the Civil Society/Non-Government Organizations (CSOs/NGOs) in Cavite, the initiative is considered a first step in preparation efforts to mitigate the impact of ‘The Big One’ on the lives of millions of Filipinos.

Disaster experts have realized that although government has already implemented the basic earthquake preparations for such an event, the importance of coming together to discuss ‘The Big One’ is crucial as it needs more than the basic that already exists.

While it is true that almost all local government units (LGUs) across the country have existing earthquake plans and drills, there is still an urgent need to refine these plans to consider ‘The Big One’ scenario. Everyone must coordinate, collaborate and be consultative and inclusive as all sectors would be affected of such a natural calamity.

Right after the Abra quake, Phivolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum, who is also undersecretary of the DRRM and Climate Change of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), provided new information related to the scenarios and impacts of ‘The Big One’.

This was also strengthened by inputs from Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) DRR advisor Ramon Santiago who shared key elements and components of Metro Manila’s contingency plan for ‘The Big One’.

Both officials were also in agreement that “(the contingency plan) need not be a perfect plan, but rather, a simple one that everyone can easily understand and set into action.”

First of all, DRRM capacity must clearly be enhanced while focusing on community preparedness and multi-sectoral awareness would help in addressing issues of weak residential structures and promote sound design and construction practice, promote business continuity planning and management practice, and long-term risk-sensitive redevelopment.

Solidum and Santiago likewise pointed out that municipalities should be organized into geographic clusters to identify current capacities and activities in relation to ‘The Big One’, if only to fill in gaps and challenges and find ways to move forward.

This is what we can all do and although it does not give us assurance of a 100 percent effective response to a devastating earthquake that would strike the very heart of the country, it would still be best for us to lift up all our worries to the Divine Will as God’s promise has always been to take care of His children in the face of danger.

FOR your comments or suggestions, complaints or requests, just send a message through my email filespolice@yahoo.com.ph or text me at cellphone numbers 09054292382 for Globe subscribers and 09391252568 for Smart. Thank you and Mabuhay!

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