Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for heightened earthquake preparedness and stressed that disaster preparedness should be a way of life so that natural hazards, such as earthquakes, would not turn into tragic events.
Legarda made the statement following the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) held today under the government's #BidaAngHanda campaign led by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
"We never know when an earthquake will occur. But we should know what to do before, during and after the occurrence of such events. It is important that these safety drills are done regularly to familiarize citizens with safety and disaster preparedness measures," said Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience.
"Everyone should be ready when the 'Big One' occurs. Government agencies and all public institutions must be prepared. There should be an effective early warning system and massive information and education campaign to equip us with knowledge on what to do before, during and after such disasters," she explained.
She added that there should be regular evaluation and retrofitting of public and private infrastructure to ensure that buildings, bridges and other similar structures can withstand strong earthquakes. Local government units (LGUs), including barangay officials, must determine open spaces for safe refuge when earthquakes occur and craft evacuation plans that would help the people find out the fastest and safest way to reach open spaces and other safe areas.
Legarda reminded that disaster risk reduction and preparedness can significantly reduce the impacts projected in the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS), which revealed that without the necessary interventions, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila could destroy 40% of residential buildings, damage 35% of all public buildings, kill 34,000 people, injure 114,000 individuals, and the ensuing fires will also result in 18,000 additional fatalities.