Buildings should withstand Intensity VIII earthquakes, at least -Solidum

Usec. Renato Solidum (PIA NCR file)

CALOOCAN CITY, March 1 (PIA) -- A senior science and technology official is urging businesses in the country to effectively mitigate disaster by building earthquake-resilient infrastructures. 

Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., Undersecretary for Scientific and Technical Services and Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PHIVOLCS), said buildings should withstand at least an Intensity VIII of an earthquake. 

"The country is highly exposed to natural hazards and climate change. We need to address their potential impacts by achieving resilience through reducing the risks or impacts," Solidum said in a recent webinar.


The DOST-PHIVOLCS describes an Intensity VIII event as "very destructive" and emphasized that the following scenario may occur:

  • People are panicky.
  • People find it difficult to stand even outdoors.
  • Many well-built buildings are considerably damaged.
  • Concrete dikes and foundation of bridges are destroyed by ground settling or toppling.
  • Railway tracks are bent or broken. Tombstones may be displaced, twisted or overturned.
  • Utility posts, towers and monuments mat tilt or topple.
  • Water and sewer pipes may be bent, twisted or broken.
  • Liquefaction and lateral spreading cause man-made structure to sink, tilt or topple.
  • Numerous landslides and rockfalls occur in mountainous and hilly areas.
  • Boulders are thrown out from their positions particularly near the epicenter.
  • Fissures and faults rapture may be observed.
  • Trees are violently shaken.
  • Water splash or stop over dikes or banks of rivers.

"The key here is to be able to understand the hazards and the risks. There are tools that Phivolcs has developed," he said, citing the GeoRiskPhilippines Initiative project of the DOST, and urging businesses to prepare to respond effectively and efficiently.

The project is a geographic information system (GIS) that integrates hazard maps, exposure data, and have these accessed by the public and government agencies.

Visualize assessments are in the form of charts, graphs, and maps to better help the public understand and prepare for natural hazards.

Solidum said disaster preparedness and resilience is not just a government approach, but the whole of society.

One ongoing activity that involves the whole of society, and guided by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), is the conduct of the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drills (NSED).

This year's first quarter NSED will be held online, in consideration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, on March 11, 2021 at 2 p.m., and would put emphasis on the participation of women, children, the youth and students, and senior citizens, among others. All local government units will spearhead the exercise in their respective area of responsibility.

Furthermore, the 14 basic sectors will serve as the focus for NSED 2021 and this aims to highlight the earthquake preparedness efforts for and by the basic sector in pursuit to building a more resilient community. The 14 Basic Sectors as identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission include: artisanal fisherfolk, farmers and landless rural workers, urban poor, indigenous peoples, formal labor and migrant workers, workers in the informal sector, women, children, youth and students, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, victims of disasters and calamities, non-government organizations, and cooperatives.

Solidum said earthquake evacuation should be prioritized over a stay-at-home order if the situation calls for it.

He also emphasized the importance of preparing an emergency survival bag or “Go Bag” containing health-related personal protective equipment such as face masks and sanitation solutions, and other essentials for survival including easy-to-prepare and non-perishable food

He said in the event of an earthquake, “drop, cover, and hold” until the shaking stops, and when vacating a building after an earthquake, remember to bring your “Go Bag” and wear a face mask. 

As much as possible, physical distancing of at least one meter must be observed throughout the evacuation, Solidum said. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (

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