Tsunami alert

Palawan Daily News - - Opinion -

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.

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