The EQ Post

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

BREAKING NEWS:IF a MAJOR earthquake strikes in Metro Manila: Drop! Cover! Hold On!

IF the BIG earthquake happens in Metro Manila:
Drop! Cover! Hold On!
The ground starts shaking – it’s an earthquake! What do you do?  Drop, Cover, and Hold On!  
One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time.
From Bloomberg News:
Esmeralda Ronquillo sleeps lightly at night, fearing she won’t be quick enough to protect her daughter when an earthquake that experts say could kill tens of thousands hits the Philippine capital.
“I’m terrified just thinking about it,” Ronquillo, 47, said inside her home in a two-story residential building in Manila’s Santa Cruz district that has fallen into disrepair. “Nobody knows when the quake will hit, so I just pray that God will keep us safe.”
Filipinos like Ronquillo are ill-prepared for the next “Big One,” something the government wants to change. As many as five million Metro Manila residents will join a drill on Thursday, according to Emerson Carlos, assistant manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. Makeshift houses will burn, structures will fall and medics will perform rescue operations in the simulation.
Ronquillo said government inspectors haven’t looked at the 1,000-square-meter (10,800-square-foot) building in the four years she’s lived there. The single mother lives upstairs with her daughter, a cousin and some friends. The structure’s wooden posts are rotting and it has a rusted facade and roof.
After Nepal’s deadly temblor in April, Philippine authorities say the Southeast Asian nation is also due for a powerful one.
The 100-kilometer (62-mile) West Valley Fault, which cuts through at least six cities in metropolitan Manila and four nearby provinces, may move “within this generation” and trigger a magnitude 7.2 quake, according to Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The fault line, which moves every 400 years, last did in 1658.
Convincing People
A quake that strong could kill at least 31,000 people, destroy a third of homes and buildings in the metro area and cost the economy at least 2.3 trillion pesos ($51 billion).
“People are not prepared for the severity of a natural hazard because they don’t have a clear imagination of what can happen,” Solidum said. “It’s good to be able to convince people to do the drill, and then slowly, we have to focus on the houses and buildings that must be condemned or retrofitted. If we are able to do that, we can lessen the deaths.”
Eight Philippine cities are among the 10 most at risk from natural hazards globally, according to U.K. researcher Verisk Maplecroft. Of 100 cities most exposed to natural hazards, 21 are in the Philippines, said Maplecroft in a March report that analyzed the combined risks from natural disasters including wildfires, volcanoes and landslides.
Ring of Fire
Situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where about 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur, the Philippines is no stranger to this hazard. In 2013, a magnitude 7.2 quake struck Bohol province in central Philippines, killing more than 200 and damaging more than 70,000 houses. In 1990, 2,000 people died after a magnitude 7.8 temblor hit Luzon island.
Informal settlements in Manila have structures not built to national standards and many lack the resources to earthquake-proof their homes and businesses, said Olivia Dobson, principal environmental analyst at Verisk Maplecroft.
In schools, students are taught to “duck, cover and hold” during a quake. Their parents are required to answer a set of questions to gauge their families’ preparedness. School administrators will then present the findings in a meeting with parents and town officials to improve coordination, the Department of Education said in an order.
Distant Damage
“You don’t need a fault to be very near for buildings to be affected by the shaking,” Solidum said, citing the 1968 quake that rocked what is now known as Aurora province.
While more than 200 kilometers from the epicenter of that temblor, Manila suffered the most destruction after the Ruby Tower, a six-story residential condominium, crumbled just before dawn.
The owner of the tower and several city officials were indicted a year later for homicide, though none went to jail. “We’re disappointed that nobody paid for the crimes, but what can you do?” said Teresita Dy, corporate secretary of the Ruby Tower Disaster Victims Association.
The tower’s owner gave the entire lot to quake survivors as part of the settlement, said Dy, who was an 18-year-old management student at the time. “Four of my classmates and three friends were buried in the rubble and died,” she said.
A two-story commercial center -- where shops sell industrial gaskets, PVC pipes and other hardware products -- now stands on the lot. On the second floor is a shrine built in the 1970s to honor the victims. The building where Ronquillo resides sits right beside it.
“We need to strengthen buildings that are weak or condemn the ones that can’t be strengthened,” Solidum said. “People should be responsible to own up that their safety is influenced by their own decisions."
IF you are in school...
If you’re in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING, and you are not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Do not use the elevators.
If you’re OUTDOORS, move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.
If you’re on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.
If you’re DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.
If you’re in a CROWDED STORE, do not rush for exits. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.
If you’re in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards.
If you’re in a STADIUM or THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Then leave in a calm, orderly manner.
If you’re in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible, lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms. 

Please read these guidelines!
One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time.
For hundreds of millions of years, the forces of plate tectonics have shaped the earth, as the huge plates that form the earth’s surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes, the movement is gradual. At other times, the plates are locked together, unable to release accumulated energy. When the accumulated energy grows strong enough, the plates break free. If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.
Before an Earthquake
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake.
To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
Fasten shelves securely to walls.
Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.
Know The Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an earthquake hazard:
Aftershock - An earthquake of similar or lesser intensity that follows the main earthquake.
Earthquake - A sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the earth’s crust, accompanied and followed by a series of vibrations.
Epicenter - The place on the earth’s surface directly above the point on the fault where the earthquake rupture began. Once fault slippage begins, it expands along the fault during the earthquake and can extend hundreds of miles before stopping.
Fault - The fracture across which displacement has occurred during an earthquake. The slippage may range from less than an inch to more than 10 yards in a severe earthquake.
Magnitude - The amount of energy released during an earthquake, which is computed from the amplitude of the seismic waves. A magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale indicates an extremely strong earthquake. Each whole number on the scale represents an increase of about 30 times more energy released than the previous whole number represents. Therefore, an earthquake measuring 6.0 is about 30 times more powerful than one measuring 5.0.
Seismic Waves - Vibrations that travel outward from the earthquake fault at speeds of several miles per second. Although fault slippage directly under a structure can cause considerable damage, the vibrations of seismic waves cause most of the destruction during earthquakes.
During an Earthquake
Drop, cover and Hold On. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.
If Indoors
DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
DO NOT use the elevators.
Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
If Outdoors
Stay there.
Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
If in a Moving Vehicle
Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.