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Thinking unthinkable

By: Jullie Y. Daza

A TOWN in Mexico, pop. 100,000, struck by a magnitude-8.1 earthquake last Friday; 80 killed according to early reports. Within the same time frame, the town of Mabini in Batangas, shaken again by a minor quake, magnitude-3.3.

How’s your EQ (earthquake quotient)? Think the unthinkable and start doing what’s doable.

You may be safe and secure in your house or building, but how long can you survive, should the dreaded Big One come to pass?

Most roads in the city will be closed or impassable.

One person per Go-bag. If there are six people in your household, you need six bags. No sharing, no cheating, no fighting!

Should those bags be in your house, office, school, car?

If the pipes of the water concessionaires are not crushed, will they be buried under? The supply of potable water will be good for two to three days.

But you will also need water for cleansing and cleaning, and flushing (ugh!).

Food will be in short supply. Markets and supermarkets will be closed or looted out of existence.

How many inmates are there in Bilibid? About 30,000? Will the guards guarding them stay behind to guard them, or will they rush home to help their own families? Is your residence near a police precinct with a jail? Remember Yolanda!

How many homeless and informal settlers will be knocking at your gates to beg for food and water to share?

Transportation will come to a standstill. Have you told your children to stay put in school or to find a way to get home? They should know where the family will be assembling.

What to do when you’re trapped in a tall building? Tell the building superintendent he must have an escape plan ready.
The earthquake will knock out power. No lights, no phones, no elevators. How to navigate to safety?

Your neighbors and barangay officials – are they prepared, how will they respond?

Other than MMDA, who in your community will guide you to a safe place? LGUs are great during a drill, but will they be on their toes for the real thing?

Where to keep the cash handy? The banks will be closed, forget about ATMs and cashing checks.
Don’t be scared into inaction, don’t be paralyzed by fear.

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