In the wake of Japan catastrophe: Celso orders check of infra bldgs PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 March 2011 14:54

Mayor Celso Lobregat has  ordered the creation of a task force that will check infrastructures that are at risk of collapsing in case of earthquakes in the wake of the Japan catastrophe.
“Of course, we have to have plans to mitigate, to reduce the damage,” Mayor Celso Lobregat told City Hall reporters yesterday.

The directive was issued March 15 through City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., the City’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council action Officer.

The City Engineer’s Office has been named as head of the task force.  Targeted  for inspection are malls, school buildings and other structures with high human activity.  The task force is expected to come up with recommendations while results will be used to review the city’s disaster and risk reduction plans.

Zamboanga’s very long coastline puts the city at risk of tsunamis, especially with houses and other structures built near shorelines and even on the sea.  “We will really have to rethink the situation and, maybe, we will have to make very hard decisions.  If we want to avoid having a lot of casualties in case there is a tsunami, we really have to rethink the settlements near the shoreline,” Lobregat stressed.

The city government has been strictly following instructions from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regarding shoreline settlements following the 2007 storm surge that displaced many Zamboanguenos.

However, Lobregat admitted that even the best disaster plan cannot prevent damage.  “When you get hit by such a strong earthquake followed by a tsunami, there is bound to be destruction.  You cannot have foretold when the earthquake would hit and how big the tsunami would be,” he said. — Claudine Uniana/City Hall PIO