You've probably heard the news: a big earthquake is supposed to hit Metro Manila soon. With Nepal being shook to its core after two big planet-shakers, it's probably best for our country to heed the advice of the experts and keep ourselves informed and prepared for such a disaster.
Your first step? Get up to speed with the core details of this catastrophe-in-the-making. Here's what you should know:
1) There are currently two active faults in the Greater Metro Manila area that are ripe for earthquakes.
These are the East Valley Fault (EVF) and the West Valley Fault (WVF). The EVF is a 10-kilometer long fault that passes through Rizal Province, including the municipalities of San Mateo and Rodriguez.The WVF is longer at 100 kilometers long and runs from Bulacan to Laguna.
2) These two faults have been quiet for hundreds of years.
Based on their research, the Valley Fault System is now ticking like a massive time bomb and is due for a huge earthquake within the next 50 years. The WVF is notorious for generating heavy quakes every 400 to 600 years, and the last one happened 357 years ago, sometime in 1658. This means that we just might experience the next big one in our lifetime.
3) The WVF can generate a 7.2-magnitude earthquake while the EVF can generate a weaker but still significant 6.2-magnitude earthquake.
For reference, the 2011 Japan earthquake that generated city-wiping tsunamis was a magnitude-9.0. It led to over 20,000 deaths. The Haiti earthquake in 2010 was a weaker magnitude-7.0 but led to 316,000 deaths. The recent one in Nepal was a magnitude-7.8 quake, which led to more than 8,000 deaths.
Closer to home, a 7.2-magnitude quake hit Bohol in October 2013, which resulted in 200 deaths and damages totalling up to P2.2 billion. This is one scene from that incident:
Photo via Wikipedia
4) The population density in Metro Manila could result in bigger damages.
A PHIVOLCS study states that there could be at least 33,500 fatalities, 100,000 injured, and total damage costs of P2.3 trillion.
5) PHIVOLCS has released a map system that pinpoints the places that are most at risk.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) released The Valley Fault System Atlas yesterday morning, May 18, to help us prepare and protect ourselves in case the catastrophic scenario happens. It is composed of 33 maps of cities that are under the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault and can be downloaded from the PhilVolcs website.
You can also look at it here:
It uses the most recent official maps available from the National Mapping Resource Authority (NMRA) and have been done in 1:5,000 scale which shows actual streets, villages and even outlines of a few structures that can definitely help authorities and even the common public to determine the areas in great risk.
6) A full list of barangays that are traversed by the Valley Fault System has been listed by GMANetwork.com.
They are as follow:
WEST VALLEY FAULT
Blue Ridge B
Pasong Putik Proper (Pasong Putik)
North Signal Village
Central Signal Village
South Signal Village
South Daang Hari
Outside Metro Manila
San Jose Del Monte City:
Doña Remedios Trinidad:
San Francisco (Halang)
Gen. Mariano Alvarez:
EAST VALLEY FAULT
San Rafael (Rosario)
Since we really can't prevent Mother Nature's fury from happening, hopefully, the Fault Atlas can help us prepare for the worst case scenario.
Scroll down below for a closer look:
PASIG AND MAKATI AREA
If our topography-reading skills serve us right, then the quake will most likely affect the areas between Pasig Boulevard and C-5. Given its fair share of high-volume traffic and the Origas-C5 flyover just hundreds of meters away from the active fault line in red, it'll definitely be a danger zone, especially for motorists should the earthquake start here.
MAKATI AND TAGUIG CITY
We're no engineering experts, but it seems that ominous red line is really on its track to C-5 straight to the outskirts of Makati City.
Valle Verde residents should really take note about this one as the diagram illustrates that almost the whole community is laying on top of not just two, but three active fault lines.
QUEZON CITY AND MARIKINA CITY
Those two huge cities aren't only divided by authoritative division and jurisdiction, they're also traversed by three active fault lines!
There's no saying when the earthquake will hit—if it ever does—but the smart money here is to not disregard these warnings, and use whatever information we have to decrease the quake's potential for destruction. We've been caught offguard by so many typhoons that by now, we should be more vigilant when it comes to potential disasters like these.