More work needed to reduce quake casualties

MANILA-- A nationwide earthquake drill is good, but more work should be done to reduce the number of casualties during an earthquake, Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said Thursday.

Aquino made this call lauding the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's (NDRRMC) move to hold a nationwide earthquake drill on Thursday to ensure readiness of Filipinos.

However, he said the NDRRMC should also ensure that structures can withstand an earthquake.

"Earthquake drills help the community prepare for quakes but there is more we must do to reduce the loss of life. We should also determine whether our structures are safe," Aquino said in a statement.

In a previous Senate hearing with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Director Renato Solidum revealed that if the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that killed nine people in Surigao del Norte last February happened in Metro Manila, around 23,000 people will perish.

Aquino stressed that fatalities could be avoided if structures and residential houses comply with the Building Code, enabling them to withstand earthquakes of up to magnitude 8 to 9.

The senator is pushing for a periodic review on the resiliency of structures, especially houses, to "ensure that it can withstand strong tremors and avoid loss of lives".

He also urged concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to make sure that buildings, houses and other structures can withstand strong earthquakes.

Citing data from the PHIVOLCS, Aquino said that the Philippines has had 163 earthquakes this year.

Source: Philippines News Agency