Press Release
May 13, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that the Philippine Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC) is studying the possible local application of new technology being employed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that is installed in homes and allows better measurements of ground motion.

The USGS uses this new technology, called NetQuakes, to better measure seismographic data. Units are installed in homes, public buildings, offices or schools and use wifi or local networks to transmit data via the internet to USGS stations. The data is then measured and used to calculate post-earthquake damage estimates and develop better engineering standards.

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) said that this is the kind of game changing technology that the DSMC is looking to utilize in order to better prepare the Philippines for earthquakes and similar disasters.

COMSTE is partnered with the Manila Observatory, in developing the capabilities of the DSMC. The DSMC is also in possession of the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS).

The MMEIRS is a joint study that was undertaken by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to create an earthquake scenario damage map of Metro Manila.

"We need the DSMC to help us prepare for the earthquakes and similar disasters that will continue to threaten the country. The government needs to be able to understand how to develop an advanced and real-time information dissemination strategy so people can better prepare to handle such events," noted Angara.

According to the study, "7.8 magnitude earthquake scenario hitting the city, around 8,918 or 17% of all the buildings will be heavily damaged while around 16,374 (32.5%) will be partly damaged. Expected casualties can rise to 12,000 individuals while 4,000 will be injured. The fire damage in this scenario can cover 116 hectares with 49,000 buildings projected to be burnt down affecting 1,600 people."

The DSMC will evolve into a training center that will focus on scenario-type learning utilizing technology for disaster mitigation and management. Taiwan and Japan are already actively cooperating with training of local experts for situations like floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

The DSMC is a public-private initiative that the scientific community can use to better understand the mechanics of managing disasters with the cooperation of neighboring countries that have experienced similar storms and natural calamities as the Philippines.

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