1 000s join quake drill in Philippine capital

2015-07-30 19:55
Rescuers lower a "disaster victim" as they take part in a metropolitan Manila-wide earthquake drill. (Bullit Marquez, AP)

Rescuers lower a "disaster victim" as they take part in a metropolitan Manila-wide earthquake drill. (Bullit Marquez, AP)

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Manila - Thousands of people on Thursday participated in an earthquake drill in the Philippine capital to prepare the city of nearly 12 million for a feared magnitude-7.2 quake that could kill thousands and displace millions, officials said.

Students, office workers, government officials, hotel guests and diplomats rushed out of their buildings when alarm bells and sirens rang out to signal the start of the one-hour exercise.

The drill aimed to simulate the moments after a massive quake strikes to test the readiness of the public and the government in responding to the disaster.

"We have to shockproof ourselves for the eventuality of the big one," said Francis Tolentino, head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). "We don't have a culture of preparedness."

In a study by the MMDA and the Japan International Co-operation Agency, a magnitude-7.2 earthquake in Metro Manila could kill at least 34 000 people and injure another 114 000. Almost 500 000 houses would collapse or be damaged.

The assessment also noted that 10% of public buildings would be heavily damaged, while water, electricity and communication services would be cut off.

In 2013, a magnitude-7.2 tremor hit the central Philippines, killing more than 200 people. In 1990, an earthquake measuring 7.7 hit the northern Philippines, killing more than 1 200 people and destroying hundreds of buildings.

Read more on:    philippines  |  earthquakes  |  natural disasters

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