#BulatlatAsks| Are you ready for the ‘Big One?’

(Photo from CDRC Facebook account)
(Photo from CDRC Facebook account)

Most people asked by Bulatlat.com are afraid to have another killer quake in their lifetime, while some are just “leaving it up to God.”

Please also read Recalling the 1990 Killer Quake


Are your family and community ready? Do you have your “Go pack” prepared? Do you know how to “drop, cover and hold on?”

Amid the government and private sector preparations and public-awareness campaign on the Valley Fault System, many said they are fearful about its imminent movement, which experts have predicted will occur anytime, within 50 years.

Experts have painted doomsday scenarios, of deaths, erupting fires, destroyed roads and bridges, downed communication and power lines, shortage of food, fuel and water, and the ensuing chaos resulting from fear, hunger and absence of government. The whole country and the world had seen all these happen in the areas worst affected by typhoon Haiyan.

Bulatlat.com asked a few people what they recalled about the 1990 “Killer Quake,” and if they are ready for the “Big One.”

Many worried about their family members, and the possible chaos that may ensue. Even members of a disaster-response NGO said they are afraid. But their fear comes from seeing government ineptness with dealing with disasters and keeping order, as what they had seen in recent years.

Ma. Elna Corazon Jazmines, Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), training department head

CDRC is gradually increasing its capacity to respond to the imminent earthquake. It has to do with having the tools that may be needed for rescue. The ‘Go bags’ have been prepared, team leaders assigned, and monthly drills being carried out.

My own home is made of light structure, of wood, so I’m not so worried. We’re also slowly increasing our capacity at home. I’ve rearranged furnitures, and removed the hazards.

Richard Magbitang, 35, CDRC

No. I’m worried about my wife and child in Navotas. If disaster strikes, our office has its plans, but I don’t know how I’m going to get home, if the roads are cut off. When the quake happens, can I focus my mind? I’m worried, what if a tsunami strikes? At the back of my mind, whatever happens, I’ll try to get home.

I have oriented my wife, who has a heart condition, not to be so emotional when the quake strikes. I’m even thinking of bringing them to Nueva Ecija where they may be safer, because there are less houses.

Marion Ramirez, 36, CDRC staff, lives with family 700 meters away from the West Valley Fault

Generally, prepared, yes, but I’m not ready. Nakakapraning (It’s unnerving). I don’t want it to happen when my family and I are apart. Although my son, Elian, gets drilled regularly at school, and would know what to do.

Joselito Kayaban, 55

I was in Quezon city. I remember I was outside by the store near our house, buying a cigarette. When I was about to light up, I felt the tremor. I saw the trees and the electricity cables shaking. Well, I can say that I am ready for whatever may happen because I am old. I am ready to accept whatever comes. Though I am not prepared materially, but I plan to have something ready.

Joel Cabanatan, 46, OFW

I was at work in Manila that day. There was so much destruction everywhere. If I were in the Philippines when the Big One hits, I will not be ready, because in those kinds of situation, no matter how much preparation you do, when it comes, you never know what happens. But I am preparing the basic provisions that me and my family will need to survive.

Soledad Catli, 59

You can never say if you are prepared, because emotionally, you won’t know how your reaction will be when it hits, so this affects your thinking as well, because then, you won’t know what to do. Sometimes you think you are prepared, but then you’ll end up not knowing what to do when the time comes.

Cesar S. Bernardo, 56

I was at home, and suddenly there was that earthquake. I really felt the tremor. Well, I can say that I am ready for the Big One because whatever happens, it’s all up to the Lord.

Carminda Harder, 53

I was at home, I was pregnant at that time, and we just heard what happened. I know that we should all be ready, because we don’t know when this earthquake will hit. But we can never say that we are truly ready. Everything can be gone in a blink of an eye.

Rolly Valenzuela, 54

I was at home with my wife at that time when the earthquake hit. For me, I can say that I am not ready when the Big One hits us.

Athea Peñalosa, CDRC

You can’t really say that you’re ready, until you’re there. You know what can happen, you know what you should do to prepare, at least you’re better armed: you know where to hide, you have arranged emergency communication lines with your family, your child knows the drop-cover-hold on – but to say that ‘I am ready’ – you can’t really know how you will react.

Even if you’re complete with “Go bags,” it will last you only for a few days, but you don’t know how long the situation will last.

Nakakapraning, because you know there is no support system from government. That’s where the paranoia comes from. Having no sense of security from the possible violence, looting — things which are beyond your control.

Please also read Recalling the 1990 Killer Quake


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