Phivolcs allays fears over earthquake frequency, urges public to prepare


Posted at Oct 18 2019 11:01 AM

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MANILA -- The powerful earthquake in North Cobatato that left 5 people killed spawned 400 aftershocks, a state volcanologist said Wednesday, as he allayed fears on the perceived frequency of tremors.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology records some 20 earthquakes daily and with more instruments at its disposal, it can better detect tremors and inform the public, said Phivolcs associate scientist Teresito Bacolcol.

"We can experience earthquakes from time to time, even stronger earthquakes because there are several active faults transecting the country," he said.

Of the 400 aftershocks since the 6.3-magnitude earthquake late Wednesday, the strongest was 5.5, he told ANC's Headstart. At one point, there were 8 aftershocks within a few hours, he said.

The country experienced several powerful earthquakes this year after Pampanga was hit by a 6.1 magnitude quake in April and a 5.9 magnitude tremor in Batanes in July.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has been continuously preparing local governments on disaster management, said its spokesman Mark Timbal.

The NDRRMC recorded a total of 143 partially damaged structures in the affected regions of 11, 12 and Bangsamoro. One structure was totally damaged and according to Timbal, it was a place of worship. They have yet to determine if it was a church or a mosque.

"Earthquakes per se don't kill people. It’s the collapse of human built structures that may claim lives so we should always prepare and strictly follow the Building Code. Preparedness should start from our family, to local communities, to the national government," Bacolcol said.