Natural disasters like earthquakes might not happen very often but when they do, it’s alarming. Other than the fact that it can destroy households, roads, and buildings, it also endangers the lives of many Filipinos. As per the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the Philippine West Valley Fault (Marikina Valley Fault) moves roughly about every 400 years. When this happens, however, many cities and municipalities around Metro Manila will be damaged. This is why all cities and municipalities should be prepared when an earthquake hits our map.
Are your Local Government Units (LGUs) ready for these types of scenarios? Are you sure that you’re going to be safe when a catastrophe strikes the Philippines? Moreover, are we sure that we’re ready to even catch the dilemma?
How can our cities and municipalities prepare for a large earthquake?
When a strong earthquake, like a 7.2 earthquake hits our country, all of Metro Manila including some municipalities around it could lose food and water supply for a week. In addition to that, it can destroy about 40% of the buildings that we now know and kill approximately around 35,000 to 40,000 of our countrymen.
Government units should map out and plan evacuation areas
Imagine a huge flood, especially in areas where flooding is common. What if you don’t have an evacuation plan? What if the people are unaware of what to do? It should be a habit to refresh and strategize how an evacuation plan will be in order for them to be prepared when disasters like a great flood or an earthquake comes.
Prepare food warehouses and storages
Given that food and water might be cut short due to these occurrences, the LGUs or the cities should be prepared to have some sort of a back-up plan when it comes to feeding the people in their municipalities.
An extra source of water
It is imperative that we drink water. Even if we don’t have enough food, as long as we have a sufficient amount of water, we can survive. This is one reason why there should be separate and alternative water sources in our country. We never know when disasters like this can happen.
First aid and basic survival training
LGUs and cities should hold first aid and survival training at least once every month to refresh everyone’s memory on how they can handle situations like these. Although it can be for leaders in barangays and in streets, it’s still important that they know how they can execute first aid and survival properly. The “duck, cover, and hold” is not enough because earthquakes are not just the only natural disaster that happens in our country.
Informal settlers relocation
The LGU should also consider training informal settlers for emergencies like this. Moreover, they can assign these informal settlers to lead emergency exits and pathways when disasters like this happen. They can also try to train these informal settlers in first aid and survival strategies.
Barangays to LGUs
When the “Big One” occurs, it is imperative that the barangays have a clear connection with LGUs for support and possibly, for evacuation in the event that the barangay doesn’t have an evacuation plan due to their limited space. There should be some sort of a plan to connect all barangays to LGUs.
All LGU units should be prepared with their buildings and infrastructures especially if it’s going to be an evacuation center. They should have the proper projection of people and the amount of goods that can be stored in the specific location. We cannot afford to panic when the disaster comes so it’s best if each infrastructure is checked every once in a while.
Our government is requiring all cities and municipalities to prepare for the “Big One” because experts believe that it can happen in our current generation. Furthermore, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) says that every city and municipality should be sure and knowledgeable when it comes to earthquakes. and other major disasters. This is because they are the cradle of each and every family who are currently residing in our country. In addition, the LGUs, as first responders, must be proactive and resilient in performing disaster-related activities.
We’re just residents and citizens of each of our municipalities. Since we’re the one knowledgeable about this, what we can do is to suggest this to our barangays and leaders in order for them to plan ahead. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Moreover, these are not just for earthquakes and floods; it can also be for fires, for landslides, for threats, etc. The point is, we all need to prepare because we never know when a disaster strikes.