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The ring of active volcanoes, volcanic arcs, and tectonic plate boundaries that frame the Pacific (Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2011)

The Philippines has been experiencing all sorts of natural disasters all year round – severe heat waves, strong typhoons, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and recently several earthquakes.

In 2016 alone, there were 216 earthquakes recorded. And these natural events happen because of the country’s geographical location.

TAKE THE EDGE OFF
Disaster Imagination is foreseeing what might happen before it happens. This is not just pure imagination but a large chunk of it is guided by science, engineering, and experience. Predicting what could possibly occur will definitely help the people address future problems that they might encounter during the actual disaster. This is not only true for earthquakes but also for other large-scale natural disasters. 

The amount of preparation needed must be at par or beyond with the degree of severity of the disaster. One cannot fall short on preparation especially if survival is at stake. The Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST - PHIVOLCS) developed a 12-point self- evaluation questionnaire to assess the safety of one’s house.

This would help the people to know well their place and its hazards and understand the impact of the disaster in their area. This includes the casualties and damage to property. This questionnaire can be downloaded at http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph.

Aside from individual preparation, being in the same mindset is vital that is why synchronization in the Local and National level in terms of employing disaster risk reduction plans must be ensured.

Although it is impossible to reduce the risk down to zero nevertheless if we manage to match the level of preparedness to the scale of the disaster, it would entail a quick relief response and recovery from the event.

FACTS
The Philippines lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, home of several tectonic plate boundaries.  Three of these tectonic plates encircle the country: the Philippine Plate in the East; the Eurasian plate in the West; and the Indo-Australian Plate in the South.  The existence of several fault lines across the country is a manifestation of the movements of these tectonic plates. Geologist defines fault line as slip-up or cracks in a volume of rock due to rock-mass movement. A large fault within the Earth’s crust is the result of the movement of tectonic plates.

A rapid movement of a fault line may produce powerful energy that can trigger a very strong earthquake.

There are five active fault lines in the country, these are the Western Philippine Fault, the Eastern Philippine Fault; the South of Mindanao Fault, the Central Philippine Fault, and the most famous one the Marikina Valley Fault or the West Valley Fault.

Recently, on July 6 this year, the Eastern Philippine Fault has moved that devastated the province of Leyte. A magnitude 6.5 jolted the city which resulted in four casualties, a hundred injured, and a significant number of infrastructure was destroyed.

DOST PHIVOLCS reported more than 500 aftershocks of which 11 were felt. The largest aftershock was magnitude 5.4 that struck Ormoc City where several people were injured and damaged some buildings.

Aftershocks are earthquakes that go after the largest shock of an earthquake series and are considered smaller than the main shock within 1-2 rupture lengths distance from the main shock. Aftershocks can continue over a period of weeks, months, or years. In broad-spectrum, quakes will come unexpectedly shock after shock.

 

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