Enforcement, research and development — keys to disaster mitigation_Insights_Asia Pacific Daily

To download APD News app

1. Please scan the QR Code 2. Download and install APD News App

Enforcement, research and development — keys to disaster mitigation

Insights2018-01-14

By APD writer Melo M. Acuna MANILA, Jan. 14 (APD) - The Philippine government and the private sector need to work together to avert disastrous impact of natural calamities brought by earthquakes and landslides. This was how Science and Technology Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr. surmised the most important imperative as the country sits in the Pacific Ring of Fire and typhoon belt. Speaking of earthquakes, Dr. Solidum who also sits as officer-in-charge of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said there are many earthquake generators also known as active faults in the southern island of Mindanao. In an interview, Dr. Solidum said these faults’ movements are closely monitored by his office through seismographs strategically located across the country. “These faults include the Philippine fault segment which traverses many provinces to Davao Oriental and on the eastern side, we have the Philippine trench that generate moderate earthquakes enough to generate some tsunamis,” Dr. Solidum said. The government has recently launched apps for weather which features rain forecast, weather outlook, cyclone update and wind strength and direction as well as earthquake which features magnitude and location. He added the Cotabato trench which generated a magnitude 7.9 earthquake affected some 700 kilometers of coastline bordering Moro Gulf in the North Celebes Sea in August 17, 1976 resulted into the deaths of 4,791, 2,288 missing and 9,928 injured. The series of events rendered 15,563 families homeless. The tsunami was responsible for 85% of the deaths, 65% of the injuries and 95% of those declared missing. Dr. Solidum said earthquakes with magnitude of 6 or less would not affect many of the structures built in metropolitan areas. He added the National Building Code is strictly enforced by national and local government officials. He underscored the need to strictly enforce the provisions of the National Building Code to see to it all structures comply with international standards. “With an earthquake of Magnitude 7 or 8 would prove destructive to houses and other structures which are non-engineered, those built without supervision from professional engineers and architects,” Dr. Solidum said. Dr. Solidum said religious buildings including structures built over a century or more ago are considered “critical structures” as large number of people gather in these places regularly. He said church leaders, professionals and the government should strive to make these buildings earthquake resistant as well. During the last earthquake in Surigao del Norte last February 10,2017 with 6.5 or 6.7 Magnitude quakes, affected several thousands of buildings. Asked of the status of the government-built roads, bridges, skyways and flyovers, Dr. Solidum said these structures have been retrofitted or strengthened in preparation for the big earthquake expected to come from the so-called West Valley fault which has not moved for the past several centuries. He added roads are “not anchored deep enough” and may be affected by liquifaction and would easily be noticed. In a separate interview, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said government engineers are implementing improvement and strengthening activities of various public works structures in the country. “We adhere to international standards,” Secretary Villar said. In a related development, the inclement weather characterized by heavy rains in Central and Southern Philippines brought landslides and caused deaths to village residents. Dr. Solidum said while risk reduction studies have been made and the corresponding results been handed over to local government units, the government will have to decide to either evacuate residents from high-risk areas as inclement weather occurs or identify relocation sites and avert loss of lives and property. “There should be a clear land use policy,” he said. He explained landslides would not happen without heavy rains and earthquakes. Rains in the Philippines range from 100 to 250 mm per day over the past couple of months. The local weather bureau which is under the supervision of Dr. Solidum’s Department of Science and Technology immediately evaluates which areas would be likely affected by heavy rains. “From the the weather bureau’s advisories, local government authorities are expected to advise people for immediate evacuation,” he explained. Dr. Solidum said the Duterte administration has increased the government’s research and development budget. He said he expects to engage more scientists into disaster risk reduction studies. “The Philippines has begun to address the need for more research and development to mitigate the impact of natural calamities,” he explained. He said there are exisiting collaborations in the academic field with countries like China and contributions from Australia, Japan and the United States. (ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

By APD writer Melo M. Acuna

MANILA, Jan. 14 (APD) - The Philippine government and the private sector need to work together to avert disastrous impact of natural calamities brought by earthquakes and landslides.

This was how Science and Technology Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr. surmised the most important imperative as the country sits in the Pacific Ring of Fire and typhoon belt.

Speaking of earthquakes, Dr. Solidum who also sits as officer-in-charge of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said there are many earthquake generators also known as active faults in the southern island of Mindanao.

In an interview, Dr. Solidum said these faults’ movements are closely monitored by his office through seismographs strategically located across the country.

“These faults include the Philippine fault segment which traverses many provinces to Davao Oriental and on the eastern side, we have the Philippine trench that generate moderate earthquakes enough to generate some tsunamis,” Dr. Solidum said.

The government has recently launched apps for weather which features rain forecast, weather outlook, cyclone update and wind strength and direction as well as earthquake which features magnitude and location.

He added the Cotabato trench which generated a magnitude 7.9 earthquake affected some 700 kilometers of coastline bordering Moro Gulf in the North Celebes Sea in August 17, 1976 resulted into the deaths of 4,791, 2,288 missing and 9,928 injured. The series of events rendered 15,563 families homeless.

The tsunami was responsible for 85% of the deaths, 65% of the injuries and 95% of those declared missing.

Dr. Solidum said earthquakes with magnitude of 6 or less would not affect many of the structures built in metropolitan areas. He added the National Building Code is strictly enforced by national and local government officials.

He underscored the need to strictly enforce the provisions of the National Building Code to see to it all structures comply with international standards.

“With an earthquake of Magnitude 7 or 8 would prove destructive to houses and other structures which are non-engineered, those built without supervision from professional engineers and architects,” Dr. Solidum said.

Dr. Solidum said religious buildings including structures built over a century or more ago are considered “critical structures” as large number of people gather in these places regularly. He said church leaders, professionals and the government should strive to make these buildings earthquake resistant as well.

During the last earthquake in Surigao del Norte last February 10,2017 with 6.5 or 6.7 Magnitude quakes, affected several thousands of buildings.

Asked of the status of the government-built roads, bridges, skyways and flyovers, Dr. Solidum said these structures have been retrofitted or strengthened in preparation for the big earthquake expected to come from the so-called West Valley fault which has not moved for the past several centuries.

He added roads are “not anchored deep enough” and may be affected by liquifaction and would easily be noticed.

In a separate interview, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said government engineers are implementing improvement and strengthening activities of various public works structures in the country.

“We adhere to international standards,” Secretary Villar said.

In a related development, the inclement weather characterized by heavy rains in Central and Southern Philippines brought landslides and caused deaths to village residents.

Dr. Solidum said while risk reduction studies have been made and the corresponding results been handed over to local government units, the government will have to decide to either evacuate residents from high-risk areas as inclement weather occurs or identify relocation sites and avert loss of lives and property.

“There should be a clear land use policy,” he said. He explained landslides would not happen without heavy rains and earthquakes.

Rains in the Philippines range from 100 to 250 mm per day over the past couple of months. The local weather bureau which is under the supervision of Dr. Solidum’s Department of Science and Technology immediately evaluates which areas would be likely affected by heavy rains.

“From the the weather bureau’s advisories, local government authorities are expected to advise people for immediate evacuation,” he explained.

Dr. Solidum said the Duterte administration has increased the government’s research and development budget. He said he expects to engage more scientists into disaster risk reduction studies.

“The Philippines has begun to address the need for more research and development to mitigate the impact of natural calamities,” he explained.

He said there are exisiting collaborations in the academic field with countries like China and contributions from Australia, Japan and the United States.

(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

Hot Recommended

  • Library designed by Daniel Wu nominated for British architecture 'Oscar'

  • 14 arrested in cross-border drug ring bust

  • China’s environment tax law takes effect in 2018

  • Women's only parking space sparks controversy in China

  • The world’s first and last places to welcome 2018

  • Highlights of President Xi's 2018 New Year Address