DOST chief says Filipinos must already know and appreciate what earthquake disaster means

Posted on 03/13/2023 09:50 am

“Of all natural hazards, earthquakes cause the deadliest disasters, accounting for 58% of total disaster deaths between 2000-2019”, a released statement by Mami Mizutori, Head of the UNDRR, given after the February 2023 twin earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

In connection with this statement, Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) believes and expects that by now, most Filipinos must have a deeper understanding and appreciation of what earthquake disaster means. 

It is likely that we know someone, if not ourselves, who experienced the impacts of devastating earthquakes in the Philippines in the last two decades, Solidum said.

The Science chief emphasized this in his message during the First Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) for the year 2023 as he shared what knowledge Filipinos already possess regarding earthquake impacts. The quarterly conduct of the nationwide earthquake drills each year is an effort of the government to promote disaster preparedness and resilience among Filipinos.

Sec. Solidum said that most of us are aware that ground shaking does not kill, it is the collapsed houses, buildings, and infrastructures that kill. He also added that many Filipinos know that collapsed houses, buildings, and infrastructures oftentimes is a result of flawed construction practices – meaning two things: old buildings that no longer meet current standards and the other where new buildings are unfortunately constructed that do not conform to current building standards. 

Lastly, Sec. Solidum said that if we believe and accept that bad construction practices cause collapsed structures during earthquakes, then destruction and death due to the earthquake are preventable, if bad practices are replaced by good practices. 

“Destruction and death due to earthquakes are preventable. Let us allow the tools of science to assist us in making earthquake-resilient communities to prevent destruction and death,” reiterated Sec. Solidum. 

Meanwhile, Sec. Solidum also shared some of the digital innovations and applications and tools that facilitate the interactive use of hazard and risk information for decision-making and action. It includes How Safe is My House – a self-assessment tool that every homeowner should take; the FaultFinder – which tells us how far away our home or workplace or school is from a source of the earthquake; the HazardHunter – which tells us what are the natural hazards that can affect our neighborhood; the GeoanalyticsPH – a tool that shows us in maps and figures the hazards assessment of our neighborhood. 

Also included in the innovations from DOST-PHIVOLCS is PlanSmart, which gives national and local planners the necessary information needed for their development planning needs; and REDAS – which teaches our local planners to build the exposure database and the scenarios of earthquake, tsunami, and landslide hazards that they will use in their CLUPs or Comprehensive Land Use Plans.

“DOST continues to develop various applications to make science more accessible in decision-making for prevention and mitigation and encourage everyone to use them as our good practice,” Sec. Solidum concluded. 

To know more of the tools that will help in keeping everyone informed of the hazards and preparatory measures to take, all are encouraged to download the special book on The DOST Innovations: Web and Mobile Applications for Disaster Risk Reduction Management. It is a user guide for accessing, utilizing, and applying DOST web and mobile applications for DRRM. You can navigate these innovations and access our risk information to support the country’s resilience initiatives. To download, you may click this link: (By Allan Mauro V. Marfal, DOST-STII)