Key Takeaway: This first of three posts about preparing for the predicted Valley Fault earthquake that will devastate the Greater Metro Manila area discusses the fault system atlas launched by government agencies in May 2015 as well as affected settlements, and a 12-point checklist evaluating your home’s integrity and safety launched in February 2014. If you live in Metro Manila, I recommend you download these documents and study them.
If you’re living or have been to Metro Manila these past weeks, chances are you’d have heard of news reports about, and preparations for, the impending West Valley Fault earthquake. Yes, only God can say when the earthquake will hit, but one thing is sure: history has shown that a West Valley Fault earthquake will hit within our or our children’s lifetime. That earthquake will reach a maximum of magnitude 7.2, and Metro Manila will be devastated – especially with the sordid state of national affairs today (it’s true, there is no denying it, and this is coming from someone who loves his country).
I’ve previously written about this earthquake four and a half months ago, after studies were published by PHIVOLCS and an earthquake underneath Zambales woke us up at 3:30 am. Now, after earthquakes in Nepal, Japan, and Malaysia, people are all the more wondering when “The Big One” will strike – truly, as is with Christ’s Second Coming, it may and will come as a thief in the night. The most we can do is to be prepared for it when it comes.
This post is the first of a three-part effort where I’ll be gradually discussing things we can do to prepare for the Big One, as well as things we’ll have to know. If you’re not from Metro Manila but you live in an earthquake-prone area, this may be helpful for you as well. And if you’re not from Metro Manila and do not live in an earthquake-prone area… well, you can either move on to other posts on my site, or read this for general knowledge purposes.
Last 18 May 2015, PHIVOLCS and other government agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the most comprehensive yet set of maps showing the two fault lines of the Valley Fault system – the 10 km East Valley Fault and the 100 km West Valley Fault – dubbed The Valley Fault System Atlas. Developed in two years’ time, the Atlas is done on a 1:5000 scale (an improvement over the previous 1:10000 one) – enough to see individual roads. A sample page is shown below, with notes under the maps.
Physical copies of the Atlas were presented to LGUs that will be affected, but the entire PDF manual – all 86.5 MB of it – is available on PHIVOLCS’s Web site. You’ll have to fill in a Google spreadsheet registration form before the document loads, though. Also, since it’s so large, it will take some time if you’re in a place with slow Internet speeds.
In Metro Manila, Quezon City, Marikina, Makati, Pasig, Taguig, and Muntinlupa will be directly affected. In Bulacan province (where the Angat Dam, which supplies 90% of Metro Manila’s water and where the Fault begins, is), Doña Remedios Trinidad, Norzagaray, and San Jose del Monte will be affected. In Rizal province, only Rodriguez will be directly affected. In Laguna province, San Pedro City, Biñan, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, and Calamba will be directly affected. And in Cavite province, watch out if you’re in Carmona, Gen. Mariano Alvarez, or Silang.
This of course does not mean that if you live in Mandaluyong, Caloocan, or even Tagaytay, you’ll be out of harm’s way. Although you are not in a settlement the Fault traverses through, you’ll also feel the earthquake’s effects – and possibly play host to a mass exodus of countrymen – according to the earthquake seminar I attended yesterday, there will be an expected three million refugees, or more.
Also, last February 2014, PHIVOLCS and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched a twelve-point checklist that allows homeowners to evaluate the safety and integrity of their Concrete Hollow-Block houses in the event of a powerful quake. This was complemented by a video by both agencies showing a test in Japan in which a house built to standards was relatively intact after the earthquake simulation, while a house falling short of the standards – and the common scenario in the Philippines – was devastated.
This checklist saw renewed discussion in light of the current earthquake preparations, and if you live in a concrete hollow-block building in Metro Manila, I recommend you and your family or co-dwellers work on the checklist, available also on the PHIVOLCS site as a PDF file. It’s also uploaded right here, since it’s smaller than the Atlas file. :p
File download: 2_questionaire_chb_english_ver1_0_january20_2014
In the next part, I’ll discuss further preparing for the earthquake and what to do when and after it strikes.
These posts aren’t meant to scare you – although I myself am afraid – but are meant to guide us all to prepare. After all, preparation beforehand is always the necessary remedy – though of course, nothing can beat the most effective and my favorite one of all:
Have a blessed week!