What will happen to Manila if a major earthquake strikes?

A CNN report released April 2010 documents Manila's earthquake vulnerability
In the wake of the massive 8.9-earthquake that hit Japan last week, the lingering question now on every Filipino's mind seems to be, "are we next?" And if so, "what will happen to us?"

Since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, local geologists have been anticipating a major earthquake to hit Manila termed as the "Big One." CNN released a report last year that documented Manila's earthquake vulnerability citing the Marikina Valley fault as "ready to give in," according to Geologist Mahar Lagmay, an associate professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of the Philippines. Lagmay said a 7.0-earthquake would be like a "1,000 Nagasaki atom bomb explosion underneath the Earth's surface along the Marikina Valley Fault."

In an ABS-CBN News report, director Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned residents living near the Marikina fault line that buildings and houses could collapse when the ground starts to shake. Meanwhile, an Inquirer report published today, March 14, listed catastrophic scenarios cited by Pacific Strategies and Assessments should a high-magnitude earthquake hit Manila, which could include: an estimated 117,000 homes that would "either collapse or suffer damage, rendering 1.2 million homeless," damaged water reservoirs and purification plants that would immediately cut 4,000 water supply points, and "at least 30 kilometers of electric cables cut, removing the supply of power instantly across the metropolis," among others.

Moreover, the 2010 CNN report said, "If a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit here in Manila, it could damage 38% of homes, a third of public buildings, and cause more than 50,000 deaths."

For more on this story, log onto CNN, ABS-CBN News and Inquirer.net.

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