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NDRRMC holds Q1 national earthquake drill

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Thursday held the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) for the first quarter.

At Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, the NDRRMC conducted a functional exercise performed by various government agencies to test their response capabilities in case of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the Greater Metro Manila Area.

Employees of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) joined an evacuation drill where they exercised the duck, cover, and hold protocol and proceeded to the evacuation areas.

Responders also conducted operations for emergency situations.

They also set up emergency telecommunications mobile facilities from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the OCD.

There was also an earthquake drill in Malacañang participated by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday afternoon.

Citing a 2004 and 2013 study, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato Umali Solidum Jr. estimated a strong earthquake may result in 50,000 deaths and 20,000 critical injuries in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

“Close to 50,000 deaths and 20,000 critically injured. So ibig sabihin yung critically injured puwede pang madagdag yun (So it means the number of critically injured may add up to the fatalities),” he said during a press conference.

Solidum also highlighted the advancement of the nationwide earthquake drill in the last 20 years.

“Mukhang sanay na sanay na tayo, but remember marami pa ring mga kabataan ang ngayon pa lang magkakaroon ng exercises kaya kahit may ganoong muscle memory ang mga nakakarami, kailangan natin gawin ito apat na beses sa isang taon,” Solidum said.

(It seems that we are very well trained, but remember that many young people are only practicing now. That's why we have to do it four times a year.)

“Bakit maraming namatay sa Turkey and Syria, unang una large magnitude earthquake, magnitude 7.8 ang tanong kaya ba ng ganoon sa Pilipinas? Ang sagot, yes,” he added.

(Why did many people die in Turkey and Syria, due to the magnitude 7.8 earthquake? Is it possible to happen in the Philippines, the answer is yes.)

He added that 10% to 13% of high-rise buildings in Metro Manila may collapse during the possible strong earthquake.

“Karamihan ng mamamatay ay manggagaling sa mga bahay na gawa sa yung two storey to three storey na concrete hollow block houses na hindi dinesign at inapprove ng engineers. Hindi pwedeng magkanya-kanya, hindi pwedeng hindi sila connected so this is now the biggest challenge for the government,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) director Edgar Tabell said in Cedric Castillo’s “24 Oras” report on Thursday.

(Most of the deaths will come from houses made of two storey to three storey concrete hollow block houses that were not designed and approved by engineers. They can't be different from each other, they can't be not connected, so this is now the biggest challenge for the government.)

“Along the west valley fault between 400 to 600 years and the last time it move was in 1658. The closer we are to that limit, the higher the probability that there would be a Big One along the west valley fault and 1658 plus 400 years that would be around 2058 pero hindi yan exact. We have to prepare for it regardless if its earlier or later,” Phivolcs director Teresito Bacolcol said.

The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) also featured its capability to respond in any natural disasters.

The government also showcased several land and air response assets including search and rescue equipment.

“Isipin ninyo pagdumating yung lindol wala nang ibang makakatulong sa inyo. Pagligtas ka na saka papasok ang mga responders kasi dapat buhay muna yung magreresponde,” Solidum said.

(Imagine when the earthquake comes, no one else is going to help you. Once you are able to survive, that's the only time responders will come in.) — Richa Noriega/ VAL, GMA Integrated News