MANILA, Philippines – Are your local government units (LGUs) ready for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake? (READ: How to prepare when disaster and emergency strike)
The West Valley Fault moves roughly every 400 years, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). Once this happens, several areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are expected to be greatly damaged.
If this strong earthquake does happen, Metro Manila could run out of food and water for a week. It could also destroy 40% of buildings, trigger fire in various parts of the city, and kill around 35,000 to 40,000 people.
Experts say that the "Big One" could happen in this lifetime. (READ: MMDA's #MMShakeDrill: How everything worked)
Role of LGUs, local councils during disasters
The 1991 Local Government Code states that every LGU should be on the frontline of emergency measures in times of disasters. Local officials must lead the delivery of services related to their line of work particularly during, and in the aftermath of, man-made disasters and natural calamities.
According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), every city and municipality should be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed when dealing with earthquakes and other major disasters. The LGU, as first responders, must be proactive in performing disaster-related activities.
Is your city or municipality prepared for the "Big One"? Below is a list of earthquake preparedness measures provided by DILG-National Capital Region for cities and municipalities:
Identify and map all evacuation areas and open spaces within the LGU for the effective and efficient distribution of water supply.
GET ALTERNATIVE WATER SOURCES
Have at least one Mobile Treatment Plant in the LGU and mobile tankers which could supplement existing mobile tankers of MWSS concessionaires.
IDENTIFY A FOOD WAREHOUSE
Identify all critical food related establishments in the LGU and enter into an MOA to secure food supply.
RELOCATE INFORMAL SETTLER FAMILIES
Immediately relocate all informal settler families in identified danger areas in the LGU.
CHECK FUEL SUPPLY
Identify critical infrastructures that will greatly need fuel supply, especially their locations and projected fuel demands.
CONDUCT TRAINING FOR BASIC LIFE SUPPORT
Conduct training on Basic Life Support - First Aid (BLSFA) and other lifesaving skills to supplement medical first responders.
Guarantee that a centralized communication system is available between the LGU and its barangays.
CONDUCT TRAINING FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT
Coordinate training for LGU and barangay personnel on the Management of the Dead and Missing (MDM) once the DILG releases guidelines. In addition, conduct trainings on fire suppression for LGU and barangay personnel and to procure necessary fire suppression equipment.
IDENTIFY CRITICAL STRUCTURES
Map out all critical roads and structures for necessary action.
AUDIT AND RETROFIT INFRASTRUCTURES
Recommend all infrastructures which shall be prioritized for retrofitting and those that may already be condemned.
UPDATE CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR EARTHQUAKE
Regularly update the Earthquake Contingency Plan and make it cohesive with the plans at the national and regional levels.
While earthquakes cannot really be predicted, households can still reduce the risks and possible damages through proper planning and careful preparation.
How are your cities and municipalities preparing for a major disaster? Let us know in the comments or write your thoughts on X. – with reports from Kaye Cabal/Rappler.com