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Well-organized quake drill in Davao City

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DAVAO CITY, June 29 -– The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) cited Davao City’s well-organized response capability during the nationwide earthquake drill Thursday afternoon, but this should be followed by a city-wide exercise to test the people’s level of preparedness.

DOST Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Renato Solidum said the nationwide earthquake drill was just the first focusing on response procedure in medical, fire capability.

But Solidum underscored that the drill was to send the message on the importance of preparedness especially when the big one hits the area. He said Davao City must hold a city-wide simulation drill to assess the people's capability in responding to emergency.

In history, Davao region was hit by a strong earthquake in the 1920’s when there were only few structures, thus the damage was less. Davao city has active faults 7.1 kilometers from the city center.

At current state when the city has progressed, Solidum said a 7 magnitude or intensity 8 earthquake could cause slight or complete damage to 280,000 buildings or 1,600 when earthquake hits at night.

The big one could also cause injuries to 30,000 people.

Solidum said the public should be prepared by checking the foundation of their houses while government must conduct audit of buildings and infrastructure.

Davao City was leading the nationwide earthquake drill as the pilot area for the second quarter exercise.

During the 60-second simultaneous drill starting at 2:00 p.m along Bolton Street people duck, hold and cover for a 7.1 magnitude earthquake situation. People from business establishments and school went out of the building when the sirens start signalling the start of the drill.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) XI Director Leoncio Cirunay said there were more than 400 responders from government and the private sector that participated in the exercise. he said citywide.

There were three scenarios: an earthquake wherein there were mass casualties; a fire scenario; and, a collapsed structure.

”So far okay naman. We have seen people cooperated. They duck, hold and cover,” Cirunay told reporters. 

Asked why Davao City was the pilot site for the second quarter even if earthquakes usually hit Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental, OCD Director Susan Juangco said the city is the regional center where damage and effect of a disaster is huge.

She said it is also in Davao City where they can expand information dissemination about disaster response, preparedness and test operability of contingency plans.

Cirunay earlier emphasized preparedness should start at home. Families should assess the structure integrity of their homes, knowing all corners of their home for their safe exit, seeing to it appliances do not pose danger when there is an earthquake. He said it is also important for one member of the family to do first aid. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA
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