NAIA could withstand a strong earthquake – Manila International Airport Authority

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport ©
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport ©

THE Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals could withstand a 7.6 magnitude on richter scale earthquake.

Thus claim the Manila International Airport Authority after staging an earthquake drill on Wednesday to assess the preparedness of airport rescue workers in the event that the expected “big one” strikes. The airport execersie is in line with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) metro wide “shake drill.”

 MIAA Senior Assistant General Manager Vicente Guerzon says the earthquake drills were conducted at the International Cargo Terminal (ICT) where cargo concessionaires Philippine Airlines (PAL) Cargo, FedEx and the Philippine Skylanders, Inc. (PSI) Cargo were holding office.

The earthquake drill demonstrated evacuation and rescue operations involving mocked victims trapped under debris and cargo following the scenario of a magnitude of 6 to 7.2 earthquake hitting Northern Luzon and Metro Manila.

Guerzon said MIAA Emergency Response Team and cargo concessionaires cooperated well in handling the simultaneous quake drill.

“Assessing the extent of human intervention that can be done to minimize risks is crucial to preparing for the “big one” aside from simply looking at the possible consequences of an earthquake,” Guerzon explains.

At the same time, the MIAA gave assurances that the security and safety of the airport users are its priorities.  It added that the entire month of June was dedicated to reorienting stakeholders and emergency response teams as to protocol under the Airport Emergency Plan.

Earthquake drill - studets cover their heads during an earthquake drill ©
Earthquake drill – students cover their heads during the  earthquake drill ©

Meanwhile, an estimated seven million people in Metro Manila joins the 2nd metro-wide earthquake drill.

Blaring of sirens on radio and television networks, fire alarms and ringing school and church bells marks the start of the drill at exactly 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

“We are making sure that no stone is left unturned to guarantee that the 2nd ShakeDrill will be equally successful and that all the challenges and problems encountered last year are now properly addressed,” says MMDA chair Emerson Carlos.

Exercise participants perform the traditional “duck, cover and hold” drill while rescuers honed their skills in freeing trapped and treating injured earthquake victims.

The earthquake drill was held simultaneously in the provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna.

Based on the map released by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the West Valley Fault also transects portions of the four provinces.

Experts said a magnitude six to seven earthquake on the richter scale is expected to hit Metro Manila anytime.

They note that the Marikina Valley fault system, which extends fromDingalan, Aurora in the north through the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and the Metro Manila Cities of Quezon, Markina, Pasig, Makati, Paranaque, Taguig and Muntinlupa; is long overdue from moving.

If it does move, the experts said, it is expected that at least 35,000 people would be killed, around 120,000 other injured and at least three million Metro Manila residents need to be evacuated.




With reports from Joel Zurbano


Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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