Phivolcs: Preparations of local gov’ts urgent

THE HEAD of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Tuesday urged local executives to fine tune warning alerts and evacuation measures as coastal communities would have little time to prepare for a major tsunami.

Renato Solidum, Phivolcs chief, said past communication simulations from the Phivolcs to the village level showed there was difficulty reaching the “last mile”—people in remote areas.

Ishmael Narag, Phivolcs communications officer, said the message takes too long sometimes to reach recipients or gets corrupted on the way to the communities.

Solidum said the Office of the Civil Defense should make an assessment of how local governments reacted to a recent tsunami warning on 19 provinces as a result of the 8.9-magnitude Japan quake.
So far, Solidum said it appeared that Albay province was the quickest among the province to enforce evacuation measures.

Phivolcs raised tsunami alert Level 1 in 19 provinces in the Philippines’ eastern seaboard at 2:08 p.m. on the day the quake struck.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Japan Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station meltdown

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power station in quake and tsunami devastated Miyagi prefecture suffered a meltdown of the reactor core, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) announced. In a last ditched effort to avoid a full meltdown, the Japanese government ordered that seawater flood the reactor core to avoid a full meltdown.

The Japanese Nuclear and Industrial safety agency revealed that at least 160 people may have been exposed to radiation. Japanese officials also revealed that while no major health risk is anticipated, they have informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that they are distributing iodine to people living near Daiichi, as well as a second plant. Iodine would help protect thyroid gland from radiation exposure.

Flooding the plant with seawater means it is effectively scrapped. Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is almost 40 years old. The exact sequence of failures have not been explained.

NISA is the Japanese agency that reports to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, a branch of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. NISA works with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and provides oversight to Japan’s Nuclear industry. NISA have been criticized for approving nuclear plants near fault lines, and it was also NISA who issued the order to open valves to release pressure from the plant.

What to put in an earthquake survival kit

Last night, in the wake of the news surrounding the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and with the realization that a Big One in Manila is imminent, my husband and I started discussing what we would put in our own earthquake survival kit.

Our initial list consisted of the following:

  • Phones and phone chargers
  • Laptops, laptop chargers, external hard drive that contains seven years’ worth of memories
  • Copies of important documents (birth and marriage certificates, passports)
  • Checkbook (just so it’s secure)
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Changes of clothes and basic toilettries
  • Drinking water
  • Crackers and some canned goods
  • Alcohol and insect repellent
  • Paper, pens, Swiss knife and basic tools

We didn’t get to finish our list, but other online resources showed that following should also be included in an earthquake survival kit:

  • Can opener – Of course, to open the canned goods (Why didn’t I think of that?)
  • Money – Another “of course” (although I had already assumed that my wallet and organizers would be in my bag
  • First-aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Grill or camp stove
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Water should be at least three days’ worth
  • Water purification tablets
  • Wrench – To switch off water and gas supply at home
  • Disinfectant (like chlorine)
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Gas/dust mask
  • Trash bags
  • Portable (or solar-powered) radio
  • Photos of family members – in case people go missing and you need references to locate them


CNN Anna Coren: Manila's Earthquake stats purposely hidden from public

CNN’s Anna Coren revealed that the Philippine government commissioned an Earthquake study several years ago. The results of the study made by the Japanese hinted that up to 38 percent of the capital would be devastated, and the projected death toll to be at least 50,000 people.

How prepared is Manila?

Hat tip to Sarah Meier.

UPDATE: This is a document from the Philippine Volcanology and Seismology agency on Philippines/Manila Earthquake Damage scenario (PDF). PHIVOLCS is an agency of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology. It is tasked to mitigate disasters that may arise from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami, and other geotectonic phenomena.

hat tip to Francis Tuason.

UPDATE-2: Earthquake Impact Reduction Study for Metro Manila, Philippines (Executive Summary, PDF)

President Aquino's letter of condolence to Japan for Earthquake

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

Expressing condolences for the Earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011

[Dated March 11, 2011]


It is with great sadness that we learned of the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan a few hours ago, causing a great deal of loss and damages.

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the entire Filipino nation join me in expressing both our most profound condolences and sympathies, as well as our solidarity with Your Excellency and the people of Japan, as you strive to cope with this tragedy whose devastation, it pains us, are still unfolding.

As a close friend and neighbor, Japan has constantly stood by the Philippines, as we dealt with past tribulations wrought by nature. Our extensive and long-standing ties of friendship means that Japan is also home to a vast number of Filipinos, whose welfare also represents a paramount concern. During this difficult time, I assure Your Excellency that the Philippine Government stands ready, to extend any support and assistance within its capability, as Japan strives to cope with the aftermath of this tragic event.

Please accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest esteem and consideration.

President of the Republic of the Philippines

His Excellency
Prime Minister