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It is Closer Than We Think

It is Closer Than We Think

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Published by Sid Macatol

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Published by: Sid Macatol on Oct 25, 2011
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10/25/2011

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West Valley Fault System: It's closer than we think
By Pres Marvin Macatol, Rotary Club of Sto Domingo QCGeneral Elmo San Diego (Ret), Head of the Department of Public Order and Safetyof the Quezon City Government, did not mince words about the grave danger posedby the West Valley Fault System that runs underneath the streets, houses, andbackyards of Metro Manila residents. The Fault is capable of causing an Intensity 7earthquake. Even hospitals are expected to crumble to the ground and the openspaces of QC would be reserved for emergencies. It would be a terrible day for theHead of his department when that day comes, he said.San Diego spoke to around 50 Rotarians on Aug 16, 2011 about the burning issuesthat confronted his department. This was on the occasion of the Joint Club Meetingamong the Rotary Club of Sto Domingo QC, Rotary Club of Kamuning, Rotary Clubof Dilman Central, Rotary Club of Kamuning East and the Rotary Club of St. Ignatius.San Diego comes from the Rotary Club of Kamuning.During the Joint Meeting, San Diego spoke about how his department wasaddressing colorum tricycles, tri-sikad on the streets, apprehending and fining trafficviolators and parking problems in the city. Then he zoomed in on the West ValleyFault System.San Diego’s statement echoed a similarmessage by Philvolcs Director Renato SolidumJr., who warned the public about this in 2009:MANILA - Some 38% to 40% of MetroManila's residential and mid-rise buildings,as well as 14% of the area's high-risebuildings, could be destroyed in the eventof a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, whichcould happen anytime between now andthe next 400 years, the chief of thePhilippine Institute of Volcanology andSeismology said Wednesday. (Source: absPhivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr.issued the warning during Wednesday'sSenate hearing on climate change, whichwas chaired by Sen. Loren Legarda andSen. Rodolfo Biazon. Source: abs-cbnnews.com (http://j.mp/quakedbuildings)The thick line in the accompanying map outlines where the West Valley Fault Systemtraverses. It "hits" the following subdivisions: Loyola, Cinco Hermanos, Don Juan,Industrial Valley, Camp Atienza, St. Ignatius Village, White Plains (eastern side), and
 
Greenmeadows. In fact, the fault line stretches all the way to Sta Rosa, Laguna andthe fringes of Taal Lake.According to the US Geological Survey, the western side of the West Valley FaultSystem pushes northwards and the eastern side pushes southwards. A slip cancause an earthquake with an Intensity 7.3 to 7.7. Analysts estimate this scenario tohappen once every 200-400 years.Apparently, this fault was discovered as early as the 1920s, during the Americanoccupation. When Manuel L. Quezon administered the city before the war, hewanted the West Valley Fault System to be established as an elongated park. Itwould be planted with trees on either side of the fault to prevent anyone from puttingup a house close to or on top of the Fault. Apparently this plan was overtaken by warand his eventual death in the US mainland.Today, the fault line is hidden underneath the floors of houses in plush subdivisionsof Metro Manila.San Diego realizes the implications of breaking this news to owners of the housesconstructed on top or within 5 meters of either side of the fault. Yet he understandsthat it is his duty, no matter how unpopular, to inform these residents and advisethem to vacate the houses immediately.The grave danger is not limited to those along the fault line, San Diego emphasized.When an earthquake strikes, the whole land mass moves. Buildings severalkilometers away from the Fault could still be devastated. Thus, it is the duty ofeveryone, not just those along the fault lines, to be prepared.As citizens, what can we do under the imminent danger of this “act of God”? Prayerwould certainly constitute part of our response. Preparedness is the other. A well-prepared citizenry may not save the whole city, but it would mean everything to everyperson that would receive a helping hand on that day that we pray would nevercome.The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology offerseducational tripstotheir premises,lectures,video documentaries anddigital imagesto the public. - - -Researches:1.Active Faults and Trenches in the Philippines | Philippine Institute of Volcanologyand Seismology - http://j.mp/activefaults2.Multiple large earthquakes in the past 1500 years on a fault in metropolitanManila, The Philippines -http://j.mp/earthquakes1500

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