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Powerful quake threatens capital

BAGUIO CITY, Benguet—The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said a powerful earthquake could rip into shreds wide areas in Metro Manila in 2056 and cause massive destruction unless mitigating measures were immediately put into place, a senior official said.

PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum said the West Vally Fault, which become active every 400 to 600 years, was ripe for another movement and it could cause a 7.2 intensity earthquake in 2056.  

“It has moved four times in the past 1,400 years. The last movement was in 1656, and it is ripe for another one,” Solidum told a Climate Change Advocacy Conference attended by 220 government information officers and journalists at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The 90-kilometer West Valley Fault runs from the Angat reservoir in Bulacan and cut across Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Rodriguez Rizal, Cavite and ends in Calamba, Laguna.  The last time it ruptured was about 356 years ago.

A 7.2 intensity earthquake would be more powerful than the super typhoon Yolanda that swept across central Visayas last year. It could result in hundreds of thousands of casualties. 

Solidum said the government should prepare for this mammoth disaster by putting up more hospitals, build new structures that can withstand a 7.2 intensity earthquake and put in place various mitigating measures.

“Knowing the problem is the first step towards finding the appropriate solution. If we do not recognize that there is a problem we will not try to prepare and look for solutions,” he said.

Solidum called on local governments and professional groups of engineers and architects to volunteer and assess the structural integrity of existing structures and recommend how to make houses and buildings stronger.

If people were not ready and the earthquake hits Metro Manila as we expected it will cause more casualties and damages, ruin the economy, render people into poverty and throw the country into chaos.

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