Cebu advised: Invest in seismic stations

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

AN ENGINEER urged local governments in the Philippines to invest in earthquake detection facilities as a way to save more lives.

Speaking before students of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Cebu, Dr. Nobuyoshi Yashima said that local government units (LGUs) can prevent the loss of lives in earthquakes and other disasters by improving its monitoring and evacuation measures.

Yashima’s seminar came less than two months after the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol. The quake left 222 dead and 976 injured, according to the national disaster council’s last report as of November 3.

Yashima, who is a professor of Nihon University, said that the Japanese Government has invested much in improving its capability to “predict” an earthquake by installing equipment in different parts of the archipelago.

He said the government had placed high-sensitivity seismograph networks in different seismic stations in their country, as a way to monitor earthquakes, minor or not.

Yashima said the networks can monitor quakes with a magnitude of 2.7 or stronger.

The network was organized by the Japanese Government after the country suffered a magnitude-7.3 earthquake that hit the city of Kobe back in January 1995. It left close to 7,000 people dead.

Aside from the seismograph networks, the Japanese Government has also placed an early warning system to guide the public in case of tremors.

Government emphasized earthquake-proofing public and private buildings. One way of doing this is improving the seismic load of old and new buildings, including traditional houses made of light materials, Yashima said.

He said Filipinos can use natural materials such as bamboo as viable housing materials that can withstand earthquakes. Bamboo is an ideal material, he said, because it’s fire-resistant and flexible.

Yashima also advised that engineers retrofit buildings based on the Building Code and put seismic verification on them.

In an interview, Yashima said that the National Government must always assume that the worst is yet to come.

The country can always seek help from other groups such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency to fund these disaster preparedness programs, he pointed out. (JKV/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 04, 2013.

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