“Everyone must learn from the recent effects of the magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Surigao del Norte. If a similar event happens in a highly urbanized area, the effects can be more devastating,” Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum warned.
It can be recalled that a magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Surigao a few weeks ago, causing severe damage to many properties (amounting to around Php665 million) and led to 8 deaths; more than 200 people were also injured during the earthquake.
But that quake would be ‘tame’ compared to the ‘Big One’, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake which geoscientists believe could happen soon along the West Valley Fault, a fault line they describe as “ripe for movement”.
WARNING: This is not fake news!
While there are those who scoff at the idea that such a high intensity quake could hit Luzon and cause major damages, state seismologists continue to warn people that the ‘Big One’ is a real threat – especially because there are numerous skyscrapers across Metro Manila, dams in many parts of Luzon, and millions of inhabitants in the areas where the quake is expected to occur.
The tremors could also trigger 32-feet high tsunamis along the coastal areas as well as numerous landslides.
According to Solidum, the 100-kilometer West Valley Fault which affects several towns and cities last caused a major earthquake in 1658, some 357 years ago. While that happened a long time ago, this is not good news to us because seismologists estimate that the fault moves every 400 years, give and take a few years.
But while that estimate gives us about 40 years to prepare, Philvolcs seismologists believe the ‘Big One’ could occur anytime soon!
In line with this, the agency wants the government to continue conducting earthquake drills in schools, offices, and other public places that would most likely have the most affected people should the ‘Big One’ occur.
In a study funded in 2004 by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency for Phivolcs, it is estimated that around 100,000 people could be injured and up to 34,000 people killed due to collapsed buildings – and that number could rise up considering the rise in population since the study was done!
For now, all we could do is prepare that the ‘Big One’ won’t happen anytime soon but we should also prepare just in case it does arrive as predicted by Philvolcs…