Traffic Research Paper Philippines Earthquake

At 10:03 p.m. on 10 February 2017, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake with a depth of ten kilometres and an epicenter located near Surigao City caused loss of lives and damage to properties in the Caraga region, particularly in Surigao del Norte province. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported no tsunami threat but they predict aftershocks will continue for several weeks. A Red Alert status has been raised by Caraga Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Operation Center. Surigao City declared state of calamity. (OCHA, 15 Feb 2017)

Based on updates issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), eight people lost their lives as a result of the earthquake, with 202 injured. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has reported that 3,331 families (16,655 people) have been displaced and are currently staying in open areas near their homes, in tents or with host families. Many residents, including those whose houses were not damaged, are apprehensive about returning to their homes because of aftershocks. (IFRC, 16 Feb 2017)

As of 24 February, a total of 6,472 families, or 32,360 persons, were affected in 82 barangays in the province of Surigao del Norte. A total of 6,398 houses in Surigao del Norte were damaged, including 518 that were totally damaged. (Govt. Philippines, 24 Feb 2017)

As of 2 March, over 7,800 people remain displaced by the earthquake. Most of them are staying in open areas near their homes, or with relatives or friends. There were eight reported deaths, three of which were children and two senior citizens, and 202 injuries. Over 7,200 houses are reported to be damaged, of which 518 were destroyed. About 81 per cent of the damage is located in Surigao City and the neighboring town of San Francisco. (OCHA, 2 Mar 2017)

On 5 March, a 5.9 magnitude tremor struck at a depth of 13 km near San Francisco municipality (population 14,500 people), Surigao del Norte province. One death was reported and local authorities are assessing the situation. This was reported as an aftershock of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake which struck Surigao del Norte on 10 February. As of 3 March, more than 7,800 people remain displaced following the larger earthquake, with most staying in open areas near their homes or with relatives or friends. (OCHA, 6 Mar 2017)

As of 11 March, the earthquakes had affected a total of 10,691 families, or 53,455 people, in 82 barangays in the Province of Surigao del Norte. Eight people were reported dead and 249 people sustained injuries due to the initial 6.7-magnitude earthquake as well as the 5 March earthquake. (Govt. Philippines, 11 Mar 2017)

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The 1990 Luzon earthquake left some valuable lessons. Have we learned them yet?

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world. Located along the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” and having 5 major fault lines, it is vulnerable to disasters such as earthquakes.

The country is no stranger to earthquakes, but one of the most memorable to hit it is the quake that hit the island of Luzon in 1990. That powerful quake resulted in a number of collapsed buildings and thousands of lives lost.

At around 4 pm on July 16, 1990, a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Northern and Central Luzon. Its epicenter was recorded in Nueva Ecija, and the shaking lasted for about a minute.

Among the hardest hit areas were the cities of Baguio, Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, and Dagupan in Pangasinan.

In Baguio City, several structures collapsed, burying people alive. Some establishments destroyed included hotels like the Hyatt Terraces Plaza, Nevada Hotel, Baguio Hilltop Hotel, Baguio Park Hotel, and FRB Hotel.

Because of shocks and fear of possible aftershocks, thousands of residents slept on the streets.

The quake left an estimated US$369-million worth of damages, and a total of 2,412 people dead.


The 1990 earthquake left not just massive damage and casualties, but also lessons about disaster readiness.

Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director Renato Solidum said the great earthquake left us with 4 valuable lessons.

1. Public needs to respond properly during earthquakes

According to Solidum, not much attention was given to disasters, especially earthquakes, at the time. In fact, earthquake drills were unheard of then.

Fortunately, earthquake drills are often conducted lately. This is in anticipation of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that could be produced by the movement of the West Valley Fault, and of a tsunami that could result from the movement of the Manila Trench. (READ: #MMShakeDrill: Metro-Wide Earthquake Drill 2017)

2. Hazards and their effects should be simulated

After the earthquake, transportation and communication lines were all affected, leaving Baguio isolated from the outside. The government did not have any idea about what the situation in Baguio was like then.

Taking off from that, Solidum said it is important for people to be aware of the hazards in their areas so that if a disaster happens, they are not left clueless about developments – should communication lines be cut or roads blocked.

3. Building codes should be implemented properly, and land use should be carefully planned.

Despite having sevral collapsed and destroyed buildings, a good number of them were left standing then. Solidum said the country's building code is actually good, but the problem lies in implementation. Good design, quality materials, and good workmanship are needed for a disaster-resilient building.

When it comes to land use planning, he said that buildings should not be constructed in areas prone to landslides. “Shaking does not kill people. Collapsing buildings will,” Solidum said.

4. Trained search and rescue groups and medical responders are needed.

Immediate response after an earthquake could be a problem, especially if there is a lack of rescue groups and responders.

According to Solidum, the golden rule is: "People must be rescued within the first 3 days."

But are we ready?

In 2004, a study funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) found that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake could hit Metro Manila and could destroy 40% of the establishments in the metropolis and kill around 34,000.

Have we learned from the lessons left by the 1990 earthquake? Are we ready for the next “big one”? –

See related stories:

Published 4:27 PM, July 16, 2014

Updated 10:12 AM, July 14, 2017

'WAR ZONE'. The aftermath of the 1990 Luzon earthquake. Photo from PHIVOLCS


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