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DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT: EARTHQUAKES

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DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT: EARTHQUAKES A Policy Paper Submitted to: The National Youth Commission - Northern Luzon Office The Japanese Embassy in the Philippines Japan International Cooperation Center Submitted
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DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT: EARTHQUAKES A Policy Paper Submitted to: The National Youth Commission - Northern Luzon Office The Japanese Embassy in the Philippines Japan International Cooperation Center Submitted by: Coscolluela, Erjo O. Esperanza, Trisha Joi D. Nario, Rex, R. JENESYS 2012 Batch 3 Goodwill Ambassadors I. INTRODUCTION: At 4:30 p.m. on July 16, 1990, an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale struck the northern and central Luzon Islands in the Philippines, resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality and widespread damage. The epicenter was located near the town of Rizal, Nueva Ecija, northeast of Cabanatuan City. Among the areas severely affected were the mountain city of Baguio; the coastal areas in La Union; Dagupan city in Pangasinan; and the central plain area--primarily Cabanatuan city in Nueva Ecija and mountainous Nueva Viscaya. Buildings in Baguio and Cabanatuan suffered extensive structural failure, and buildings in the coastal areas in La Union and in Dagupan suffered foundation failure or the effects of liquefaction. In the city of Baguio, twenty-eight buildings and 132 residences in the city were damaged or destroyed. Three hotels were totally destroyed. Two schools were severely damaged, trapping students and faculty members. A factory building collapsed and burned with workers trapped inside. The earthquake caused different patterns of damage in different parts of the Luzon Island. Baguio was most severely affected, probably because it had the highest population density and many tall concrete buildings, which were more susceptible to seismic damage. Because all routes of communication, roads, and airport access were severed for several days, relief efforts were also the most difficult there. Relief efforts were further hampered by daily drenching, cold rains. Because Baguio is home to a large mining company and a military academy, experienced miners and other disciplined volunteers played a crucial role in early rescue efforts. Rescue teams arriving from Manila and elsewhere in Luzon were able to decrease mortality from major injuries. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, and specialized equipment and supplies were brought to the area, and victims were promptly treated. Patients requiring specialized care (e.g., hemodialysis) who were not available in the disaster area were airlifted to tertiary hospitals in metropolitan Manila. Outside of Baguio, destruction tended to be more diffused. Damage was caused by landslides in the mountains and settling in coastal areas. Relief efforts in these areas were prompt and successful, partly because the areas remained accessible. The Great East Japan Earthquake or the 3.11 earthquake was a magnitude 9.0 underwater earthquake that happened at 14:46 (local time) on Friday, March 11, It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 meters in Miyako in Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture and which, in the Sendai area, travelled up to 10 km inland. The earthquake moved Honshu 2.4 m east and shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm and 25 cm. On 12 March 2012, a Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,854 deaths, 26,992 injured, and 3,155 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 129,225 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 254,204 buildings 'half collapsed', and another 691,766 buildings partially damaged. The earthquake and tsunami also caused extensive and severe structural damage in north-eastern Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse. The World Bank on Monday issued a report saying the damage from Japan's earthquake and tsunami could amount to as much as $235 billion and that limited effects from the disaster will be felt in economies across East Asia. The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami included both a humanitarian crisis and a major economic impact. The tsunami resulted in over 340,000 displaced people in the Tōhoku region, and shortages of food, water, shelter, medicine and fuel for survivors. In response the Japanese government mobilized the Self-Defence Forces, while many countries sent search and rescue teams to help search for survivors. Aid organizations both in Japan and worldwide also responded, with the Japanese Red Cross reporting $1 billion in donations. The economic impact included both immediate problems, with industrial production suspended in many factories, and the longer term issue of the cost of rebuilding which has been estimated at 10 trillion ($122 billion). In comparison to the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake, the East Japan Earthquake brought serious damage to an extremely wide range. II. DISCUSSION Earthquakes are natural disasters which are common in the Philippines, as the country is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. They are also common in Japan, which lies on the collision area of the Eurasian/Chinese, North American, Pacific, and Philippine plates. Both of these countries have been subject to numerous earthquakes over the years. The devastation caused by these calamities have led to a number of safety measures implemented by the governments of both countries. The recent Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred last March 11, 2011 has brought to light new information and concerns regarding earthquake knowledge and disaster prevention measures. The amount of damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami in a first-world country such as Japan only goes to show how even a nation so advanced in technology and earthquake-resistant facilities cannot fully withstand the force of natural disasters such as those that have come upon it the previous year. However, Japan s effective recovery efforts have proven its resiliency and strength as a nation. This section of the policy paper, therefore, will analyze the similarities and differences between earthquakes that have occurred in the Philippines and Japan, as well as the measures taken by both countries. The Great East Japan Earthquake was a magnitude 9.0, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the fifth greatest earthquake ever recorded. However, the earthquake was not the only problem. The 3/11 disaster was a compound one, with the earthquake triggering the tsunami with a maximum height of 9.3 m, as well as liquefaction and ground sinking. The ground sinking caused high tide and flooding. All of these together caused the infrastructural damage, which, with the liquefaction, led to the large amount of waste. The tsunami also caused the nuclear accident at Fukushima. The waste, together with the nuclear accident, brought environmental disaster. One major problem pointed out above is liquefaction. During liquefaction, the pore water pressure inside soil particles increases, suddenly leading to loss of contact between particles. The result of this is the soil becoming like liquid mud. Liquefaction then causes a large amount of damage to property and structures because the foundation soil beneath them weakens. Light structures buried underground are forced to come up, while heavy structures above ground sink deeply into the liquefied soil. As of May 2008, there were 12 major earthquakes occurring in the Philippines that PHIVOLCS listed as destructive earthquakes. Included in this list is the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Luzon on the 16th of July This earthquake was so far the most powerful and most economically devastating that happened in the Philippines, with about 1,621 deaths and a damage amount of around USD637million. According to the investigation of a team from the USGS, the greatest damage caused by the shaking movement was in Baguio City, where many tall buildings collapsed. Liquefaction was also one of the major problems. It occurred in Tarlac, Pangasinan, and La Union. In Dagupan, the subsidence level of some buildings was almost as low as 2m while the tilt angle was almost 30. About 55% of Dagupan s business district was lost. The liquefaction also caused the destruction of some bridges. Landslides covered the roads on mountainous areas, and due to further damage to transportation, electricity, pipelines/water supply, and communication systems, Baguio was isolated and without electricity and piped water for four days. Only one month after the earthquake was a single road opened. In other areas, concrete elevated tanks were cracked. The earthquake also caused oil leaks in oil company pipelines. The result of this was that there were no shipments of petroleum products for three weeks after the earthquake. Due to the disruption of communication systems, emergency medical response was hampered According to the 1990 findings of the USGS team, however, structural and foundational failures could have been avoided. Aside from soil conditions that may have caused some of the damage, errors in the structure of the buildings were a large cause as well. In addition to that, some of the buildings had not been fully renovated after receiving damage from previous earthquakes. The Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) s 1991 report also summarized their conclusions and recommendations for future earthquake measures into the following six suggestions. 1) The failure of the buildings was caused by poor design and construction. 2) With regards to codes of engineering practice, the solution would be to improve understanding of the codes; the problem not lying with the codes themselves. 3) Since liquefaction was such a major problem, information about liquefaction-prone areas in the Philippines should be readily available and further efforts should be made to develop counter attacks against it. 4) Instrumentation should be installed in and around Baguio to help record and study future unusual earthquake activity. 5) Instrumentation recording ground motion should be installed in major new buildings. 6) Though Manila received minimal amount of damage from the 1990 earthquake, it should not be taken for granted that it has good measures against future earthquakes. These were the recommendations from the 1990 and 1991 studies of foreign teams. Since then, PHIVOLCS has released maps of areas for liquefaction susceptibility, landslide susceptibility, active faults and trenches, and more. It has implemented information dissemination campaigns about earthquake hazards. It has improved instrumentation around earthquake-prone areas and has been conducting research to improve other safety techniques as well. On its website, PHILVOLCS has listed their programs and projects which include the goal of operating and maintaining seismic networks in order to issue timely bulletins and generate quality data. It has given importance to projects such as information dissemination, data management, network management, engineering, and research and development. However, these measures are not enough. Last February 6, there was a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. There were a series of aftershocks (1,239 with 75 felt, according to PHIVOLCS-DOST) and landslides, as well as a rise of water along the shoreline, wiping out five nearby cottages and damaging 20 residential houses. There were 1,919 houses damaged, 26 people dead, 52 people injured, and 71 people missing. The Philippines still has a lot to learn about earthquake safety measures. In terms of earthquake prevention and disaster preparedness, Japan could be ahead of the Philippines by centuries. Two of the biggest advantages that Japan has over the Philippines are their technology and their knowledge. From early grade school, children are taught earthquake safety measures. They are drilled with the knowledge on how to differentiate P-waves and S-waves, as young as they are. Also, Japan s early warning system, an extremely advanced technology, enables people to know about a disaster seconds before it comes. The seconds, though, prove to be life-saving. Their infrastructures are earthquake-resistant. Every year on the 1st of September, Japanese citizens celebrate Disaster Prevention Day, commemorating the Great Kanto Earthquake. The Philippines and Japan have the same problem when it comes to earthquakes, though Japan is more prone to them. The main reason why the two countries disaster measures are different may be because of the differences in culture and character of the people. The main recommendation is to adapt the discipline of the Japanese people when implementing needed programs and laws. III. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION: Based on the data researched and analyzed, the following conclusions and recommendations can be made to further improve the disaster management plan of the Philippines: - A better information dissemination system to be spread at schools, government offices, and other public places. Proper and constant placement of posters, reminders, and the like should be placed for the public to inspect and apply. It is noticed that while there are some paraphernalia going around, it is not really being noticed by the public. To further enhance this, all educational institutions (primary, secondary, and tertiary) should conduct an annual seminarworkshop for the youth to learn and be reminded of what they should do in case a disaster should strike (earthquake, tsunami, etc.). Added to that, several drills should be conducted to give these students a real time experience should a disaster occur. This system should also be adapted into public office and encouraged among private companies and establishments. - The construction of at least one center/establishment dedicated to educating the public on what to do in case of a disaster. In Japan, life centers offer close-to-life simulations where the participants act on these scenarios, seeing how they would fare in case a real disaster struck. This would not only enhance their understanding of disaster management, but it would also pave the way for them to sharpen their basic know-how s and survival skills when the need arises. This gives them the proper mindset and discipline needed in case of such an emergency. - An updated building and planning law that ensures ALL commercial and public buildings be antiseismic, adhering to special rules and regulations made by a special council specializing in seismic studies. A similar code in regards to building private residences and the like should also be done. Furthermore, the city government should send out a survey team as early as now to monitor structures and places around the city that may be prone to catastrophes (faulty designs and structures, liquefaction-prone vicinities, etc). Establishment of plans should be made in case liquefaction may occur in some areas. Most importantly, these codes and laws should be disseminated to the people in a way that is clear, concise, and understandable by everyone, as the problems do not necessarily lie within the codes themselves. - The government must set up a budget to be used to upgrade the equipment of PHILVOLCS and PAGASA, so that early detection of disasters may give time for the city to prepare for when such a disaster should occur. Furthermore, detailed preparations made by the city in case an earthquake strikes is vital. This includes, and is not limited to, a safe zone or shelter in each barangay, stored medical supplies, food, basic amenities, and a back-up power supply, and planned evacuation areas. - Lastly, each vicinity of the city should be equipped with speakers, megaphones, and the like in order to easily communicate with people living in that area by giving them announcements and telling them what to do. This ensures the safety of everyone within hearing range. We share pretty much the same geographical status as Japan, and we share the same problems when it comes to the wrath of nature. What sets them apart, however, is that they have instilled the value of discipline, responsibility to their fellowmen, and the importance of planning ahead. While it may be true that their technology gives them a big head start, we have the ability to push ourselves further by adapting the same values and plans they have that are easier to reach and to follow. That way, we get fewer casualties when a catastrophe actually happens, and we save the money needed to rebuild and to rehabilitate. What we really need now is the initiative to ACT and DO. We hope our government can follow through with what we have discussed, as we believe that the welfare and safety of its citizens should be an utmost priority. REFERENCES: Rajib Shaw and Yukiko Takeuchi (2012). East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Evacuation, Communication, Education and Volunteerism. Singapore: Research Publishing Services. p. 288.
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