Why Greater Metro Manila needs new hazard map
MANILA - A multi-hazard and risk map prepared by various government agencies over 3 years was handed over to officials from the Greater Metro Manila Area Thursday morning in Pasig City.
The map aims to aid local government units enhance their local risk reduction management plan by identifying specific areas that are most prone to natural calamities such as floods, severe winds, and earthquakes.
Unlike previously available hazard maps that only show where natural hazards may occur, the new study takes into consideration details like population and existing infrastructure, which factors in when studying the disaster risk in a particular area.
"In the past, the study was in Metro Manila only, now we went beyond Metro Manila to include other places in Greater Metro Manila. We also factored in other details to better picture of the associated risk in a particular area. Hindi naman kasi porke present mas mataas na ang risk, depende yan sa mga nakatira doon at yung mga structures na nakatayo," said Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Director Renato Solidum, one of the key people behind the study.
Because of the recent major earthquake in Bohol, the discussion gravitated towards the scenario during a major earthquake of similar magnitude in the densely populated metropolis.
Phivolcs simulated what is said would be the worst case scenario of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that can be generated by West Valley Fault system, which runs lengthwise along the National Capital Region.
Based on the Phivolcs study, an event like this will trigger an intensity 8 earthquake in the Greater Metro Manila area. At least 37,000 deaths are expected, and the estimated damage is at P2.5 trillion pesos.
While science at the moment cannot predict when an earthquake will occur, Solidum said the West Valley Fault moves roughly every 400 years, with the last major earthquake occuring some 350 years ago.
This makes the study even more significant, on top of other hazards such as floods and severe winds.
The team admitted, however, that the study is area-based, and they cannot single out specific structures that are most at risk at the moment.
They said this information will become available eventually through the help of local government units, who will be taught how to make further assessments on the ground.
"In disaster risk reduction and management, it is important for us to have an idea of what is likely to happen. That way, we can undertake the right preparation and make the best use of our resources," said Solidum.
The Phivolcs director also highlighted the importance of a concerted effort from the national government down to the barangay and individuals in disaster risk reduction efforts.