CNN cites Japanese study's findings: A 7.2 magnitude quake in Manila might cause 50,000 deaths

Is Manila ready for a 7.0 earthquake? According to this CNN report posted by the, we aren't.

Earlier this year, Architect Felino Palafox Jr. submitted a report to the Philippine government with sixty recommendations on how to make Manila earthquake-proof. So far, there has been no response to his proposals. "I think there's so much focus on politics and the elections," he said. "The vulcanologist and geologists in our country tell me that the 'Big One' could happen any time."

The "Big One," a possible 7.0 magnitude earthquake, would be akin to "1,000 Nagasaki atom bomb explosions underneath the Earth's surface along the Marikina Valley Fault," according to Geologist Mahar Lagmay, an associate professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

The CNN report also revealed that the Philippine government had allegedly commissioned a study to be undertaken by Japanese experts in 2004.   According to the findings of the said study, a 7.2 magnitude quake could rupture the Marikina Valley Fault, damage 38% of homes and lead to 50,000 deaths in Manila alone. The report went on to state that the "highly sensitive study" was "withheld by the government for four years" and that they could not access the full report yet.


Unfortunately, CNN did not elaborate who the said "Japanese experts" were. They also didn't cite the said experts' affiliations. That being said, the public is only left to chew on the information provided in the report.

Perhaps, CNN was referring to the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study, which likewise highlights a hypothetical 7.2 magnitude quake. Or perhaps not.   Whatever the case may be, it's rather unfortunate that they didn't cite the specific name of the study.

For now, it is more prudent to take the advice Palafox gave in an article published last February: "We can't wait for another tragedy. We have seen how an unprecedented volume of rainfall like what Ondoy had brought could prove too much for Metro Manila's river and drainage system. We have also seen what a massive earthquake could do to an unprepared city like Haiti. While there is nothing that we could do to control the destructive power of these natural phenomena, there are steps that we could take to limit the amount of damage."


Indeed, just this morning, April 26, the US Geological Survey recorded a 6.9 magnitude earthquake Southeast of Taiwan, only 270 kilometers away from the Philippines.

Events like these, according to National Security Adviser and Defense Chief Norberto Gonzales Jr., cannot be prevented. "There is no 100 percent preparation for a major earthquake. Probably, despite all our preparations, there will be casualties," he stated.

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