Disaster Preparedness 101: Possible Effects of Earthquakes 


Due to the unique tectonic setting position of the Philippines, fitting for any volcanism and earthquake activity, experts have warned about the possible increased risk of landslide incidents in the country. Having a mountainous and hilly combination in several regions, the country’s terrain is naturally susceptible to landslides and may experience landslides from time to time. In fact, the Philippines is placed fourth in terms of landslide risk next to its neighboring countries Indonesia, India, and China. According to the Philippine government’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), 80% of the country’s total land area is prone to landslides. Disaster preparedness should be one of the top priorities of the government to lessen the aftermath effects of earthquakes.

Here are some disaster preparedness techniques to help you:

Before an earthquake

As we all know, earthquakes always occur at the most unexpected time, whether you’re asleep, taking a bath, or walking outside, an earthquake can happen with little to no warning. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the effects of earthquake and eventually reduce your vulnerability to earthquakes that may happen in the future.

1. Identify possible hazards in your home

Look for any broken pieces in your home, and check your walls as well. If you see any big cracks, you have to fix them as soon as possible to prevent any injuries in case they collapsed during an earthquake. Secure your furniture so that it won’t fall over or fall down during an earthquake. Check also the things that are positioned in high places, such as big glass vases, if they are displayed on top of a cabinet, you should bring them to a lower place so they won’t fall and cause injuries. Take some precautions and safety measures as well for your cupboard and window glass to keep them from shattering and scattering.

Also, any of your heavy and breakable objects should be secured on shelves. Secure your electronic appliances such as TV and personal computers firmly in a safe place to keep them from moving or falling over. Remove any obstacle from your door that will hinder your escape during an emergency, and keep also your slippers and sneakers nearby.

2. Create a disaster preparedness plan

Plan safety measures with your family to prepare everyone in case of emergency so you will all do the right thing during the sudden and violent shaking of a major earthquake. Also, to prepare you not only during an earthquake but also on what to do after. Include in your disaster preparedness plan your evacuation and reunion plans, your contact numbers, the location of emergency supplies, and other similar information. Prepare your meet-up place in case you get separated from your family members. You can choose two locations, either close to your home or a central location that you can access easily. Keep in mind the other kinds of risks that you might also encounter once the earthquake is over such as the risk of fire, possible aftershocks, and halting of some utilities and transportation services.

During an earthquake

If you are indoors during an earthquake, just stay where you are inside and don’t go outside until the shake stops. You need to stay indoors to avoid any falling objects on your way out. You should stay under a strong desk or table and protect your head. Remember to do the drop, cover, and hold-on drill to keep you safe. You must stay away from any fireplaces, windows, and appliances. In case you are on outdoors, stay away from buildings and powerlines, you should stay in the open to avoid falling debris. Also if you’re driving, stop the car, stay inside until the earthquake stops, and move the car away from traffic. But do not stop your car under a bridge, trees, powerlines, or anything that could fall on you.

After an earthquake

Once the shake stops, check for any injuries and damages. If you stayed indoors, go outside immediately, especially if you think the structure you’re currently staying in is in danger of collapsing, and wait a little longer for any aftershocks. You may also check on your neighbors or anyone who might need help and provide them with first aid. Be vigilant with your surroundings, especially your house and lot, and look around for possible hazards during aftershocks

What are The Possible Effects of an Earthquake

The destructive effects of earthquakes from tsunamis, landslides, deforestation, and similar causes make the violent and uncontrollable shaking of the ground produce the greatest land losses and personal injuries. The damaging shaking of major earthquakes can be felt from a great distance. Some effects of earthquake are listed below:

1. Ground shaking

The vibration that you feel during an earthquake is called ground shaking. The shaking is caused by body waves and surface waves passing beneath buildings, roads, and other structures, which trigger also other hazards such as landslides. The intensity of ground shaking increases as magnitude increases but decreases as the distance from the proximate fault increases.

2. Landslides

As mentioned above, earthquakes could also trigger other hazards such as landslides and mudslides. In the Philippines, landslides often occur in the mountainous region of Baguio after an earthquake or heavy rain. The most common type of earthquake-induced landslides are rock falls and debris that collide with people and cause injuries, the fallen rock fragments sometimes may also transform into steep slopes.

3. Tsunamis

Although tsunamis are not common in the Philippines, still tsunamis occur in other countries as an effect of earthquakes like in Japan. Tsunamis are a series of very long waves that were triggered by earthquakes which then travel from the ocean floor to the surface and cause injuries to the life and property of the people.

4. Structural damage to buildings

The level of impact of an earthquake on a building depends on where is the epicenter of the earthquake– whether it is centered in an urban or rural area, densely or sparsely populated, highly developed or underdeveloped, and on the capability of the infrastructure to withstand shaking. When an earthquake occurs, it produces a series of seismic waves that has a wide range of frequencies. The higher the frequency of waves, the more it is absorbed by a solid rock while the lower frequency waves are not absorbed by solid rock but by soft sediments, they pass through it only. Therefore, worse earthquakes have a more damaging effect in areas underlain by soft sediments than in areas of solid rock. Multi-story buildings tend to be more seriously damaged than smaller ones due to the soft sediment compound of buildings. However, buildings can be now designed to withstand most earthquakes, especially to earthquake-prone areas, which is also made more possible by modern technology.

There are also some things to consider if you want to live in a landslide-free house and lot.

  1. Take safety measures on new cracks you found in the foundation of your real property; evacuate immediately if you hear your house creaking and things snapping;
  2. Consult with a geotechnical engineer for any deep-seated slides;

In planning to buy an affordable house and lot or condominium unit, the safety of the place should be your topmost priority. Good thing, Bria Homes provides quality homes that are suitable for every Filipino, especially if you’re looking for a  landslide-free property.