THE EARTHQUAKE yesterday morning and the succeeding aftershocks the rest of the day sent most of us into a state of constant fear. The quake drills never really prepared us for an actual vigorous shaking, especially as we realized we do not know exactly where to go if a quake of such strong intensity strikes.
Social media was again flooded with information that caused a lot of confusion, not to mention hoax information and photos. It takes a lot of discernment to separate chaff from grain, false information from verified facts, and that which causes panic and fear.
In the confusion, people liberally use intensity and magnitude which further add to the panic. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program defines that magnitude and intensity measure different characteristics of earthquakes. It said “magnitude measures the energy released at the source of the earthquake. Magnitude is determined from measurements on seismographs. Intensity measures the strength of shaking produced by the earthquake at a certain location. Intensity is determined from effects on people, human structures, and the natural environment.”
But whatever it is, the important thing is that people are safe and secured.
The images after the shake show that our structures are vulnerable to tremors. The municipal building in Magsaysay town reflects the integrity of our public buildings - cracks and broken glasses are strewn everywhere. The residents in those towns that were severely affected by the quake have moved out of their residence and are staying in makeshift homes. The fear is all too real.
Mayor Sara Duterte has already called for rigorous assessment of school structures both in public and private schools. Everyone should check for any sign of weakness in their homes and buildings. We should be always on our toes at this time when the earth is shifting.