PHIVOLCS reminds public to prepare for potential hazards amid COVID-19 pandemic
Marje Pelayo • July 29, 2020 • 242
MANILA, Philippines — Earthquake drills have been suspended since the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) occupied the government in the past months.
The National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) acknowledges the risk of COVID-19 transmission if people engage in drills.
“Delikado pa kasi iyan ngayong may pandemya pa, (That is risky given that we are in the midst of a pandemic),” explained the agency’s spokesperson Mark Timbal.
Timbal said they can still resume as soon as a vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered.
“I believe that we will resume the drills once both an effective treatment program as well as an immunization/vaccine is already available,” he added.
Despite the suspension of the drills, the agency said the public gets the information it needs through the local government units through constant information campaigns about disasters and diseases, specifically health protocols in evacuation centers, wearing face mask, using personal protective equipment and practicing social distancing.
The NDRRMC also conducts online training for that matter.
But for the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), it is still important to always prepare for potential disasters like earthquakes, typhoons and serious floodings even in the midst of a pandemic.
Science and Technology Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS OIC Renator Solidum assured that the agency is constantly conducting online seminars among LGUs and assessing the possible impact of disasters like earthquakes in their respective areas.
PHIVOLCS encourages every member of the family to discuss preparations amongst themselves as to what they will do in case of a serious earthquake like where they could possibly go to be safe.
Each family also needs to have an emergency kit in place complete with face masks, alcohol or sanitizer.
“In the past many large scale disasters minsan merong mga natataong mga pandemic. Mahirap iyon kung hindi handa sa pareho, [In the past, there were large scale disasters that happened along with a pandemic. It’s difficult to be in both situations unprepared,]” Solidum explained.
“We should prepared for both, not only for COVID-19 but also other possible large-scale hazards,” he added.
PHIVOLCS has created applications which can be checked for potential hazards in a specific area and these applications can be accessed through the Georisk Philippines website. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
The project site of the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulacan has geohazard risks, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
The multi-billion airport is sitting on soft ground and its location is prone to frequent flooding, according to Phivolcs Usec. Renato Solidum.
“Just to be very specific on the facts is that it is far away from the fault. But since it’s underlain by sand with a shallow water table, it’s prone to strong ground shaking and liquefaction,” he said.
Solidum said they conducted an assessment to ensure the safety of the community as well as to protect investments. He recommended making buildings and infrastructure resilient to hazards.
“Dapat iyong building mo ay maayos ang disenyo na maging stable siya habang lumilindol at hindi siya tumagilid. Or pwede mo ring patibayan ang lupa. Bawasan mo iyong tubig, palitan mo iyong lupa, (The building should have a proper design for it to be stable during earthquakes. The ground can also be strengthen by reducing its water content or replacing the soil),” he added.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMC) said they have been taking into account the risks in designing the P740 billion domestic and international airport in Bulacan. The SMC also assured they have studied the project, including its feasibility, and all possible risks.
“The airport’s design fully takes this into account and we have actually started implementing sustainable measures to address flooding in Bulacan that has existed for several decades and has been made worse by clogged waterways and drainages,” according to SMC.
The corporation also tapped three major global airport construction firms to ensure the airport is resilient, sustainable, and will provide the best benefits for all Filipinos. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines — Mount Kanlaon in Negros Island is one of the most active volcanoes in the country similar to Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales, Mt. Mayon in Albay, Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon, and Mt. Hibok-Hibok in Camiguin Island.
Based on the observation of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the volcano has recorded abnormal activities especially last Sunday (June 21) and Monday (June 22).
Earthquakes have been felt as the volcano spewed ashes.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS OIC Renato Solidum explained these activities may be attributed to an existing fault.
They are now observing if the tremors will move under the summit.
“Itong pagkilos ng fault ay posibleng sanhi dahil sa pag pressurize ng lugar sa Kanlaon volcano ng hydrothermal fluids o pagpapakulo ng tubig o di kaya ay mas malalim pang magmatic activity,” Solidum noted.
Most of the Kanlaon’s explosions were phreatic, the agency observed.
Based on studies of rock samples from the volcano, its last lava episode was in the early 1900’s.
In the 1996 eruption, three persons who went up the volcano died.
Usec. Solidum said Mt. Kanlaon is not comparable with the Taal Volcano when it comes to activities, though a major eruption is possible.
Alert Level 1 has been raised over Mt Kanlaon since March this year.
“Kung ang tanong mo ay mabilis yung escalation, wala tayong nakikitang ganung history sa Kanlaon based on record history (We didn’t have any record of rapid escalation based on Kanlaon’s record in history),” Solidum said.
“Pero yung posibilidad ng magkaroon ng mas malakas na eruption ay nandoon katulad ng Mayon Volcano; not Taal Volcano, hindi naman sila pareho ng setting (But there is the possibility of a major eruption like with Mount Mayon, but unlike Taal Volcano. Their settings are different),” he added.
PHIVOLCS warned that entering the four-kilometer permanent danger zone is strictly prohibited. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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