Are we prepared when tsunami strikes?
This is one of the most critical questions we have to ask when we think of how prepared our country is when it strikes like a thief in the night.
Sitting exactly on the Pacific ring of fire, the Philippines is not spared from the possible wrath it may bring us where a lot of trenches, plates that are traversing across some major islands in the country.
This week, Tsunami Awareness Day is celebrated around the world and here in our country. Simultaneous earthquake drills were conducted to make everyone prepared in handling disaster-related emergencies. But, do we really participate and get involved in these activities and learn from them? Or just simply for the sake of compliance?
The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) in 2014 cautioned that mainland Palawan has no active fault but it is still vulnerable to earthquake hazards particularly tsunamis. According to PHIVOLCS Director Dr. Renato U. Solidum, “Palawan can be affected by a tsunami coming from either side of the island.”
Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon are also vulnerable to tsunamis and are home to active faults.
Nearly 24 years ago, the region experienced an eight-meter tsunami when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Mindoro including Verde, Baco Islands and portion of Lobo, Batangas killing around 78 people and damaging 7,566 houses. It occurred in a fateful day of November 15, 1994.
The role of Office of Civil Defense as an implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is vital and through the cooperation of its partners and stakeholders down to the community level could create a meaningful result – to lessen the loss of lives and properties when disasters strike.
In order to mitigate the effects of these hazards, continual drills must be implemented and community participation on hazard awareness including the right ways and means to be well adept in handling crisis have to be instituted.
By the use of the current technologies in mapping hazardous areas, local heads can create and update plans to reduce the risks and effects of these disasters specifically tsunami. And through their leadership and initiative and active participation of the community members, we could be well adept and resilient when tsunami strikes.