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February 6, 2012

Earthquakes and Aftershocks: Negros and Cebu

Right before 12 noon today, while I was huddling with barangay councilors and the Mayor of Cabilga in one of their barangays, I got a call from home in Bacolod City. My wife told me that a strong earthquake hit Bacolod City. I told them to stay safe and to watch the news about the earthquake. I was pretty sure that if it was a strong earthquake, aftershocks would follow. By her description, the quake was strong. My son even told me that he saw the water in our fish pond spilling out of the pool. When we got back to the Visitor Center in Calbiga, I found out that Cebu was also hit. I got another text message saying that the epicenter of the quake was somewhere between Negros Oriental and Cebu. On my way to Catbalogan, I got another text message at around 6pm when a strong aftershock jolted Bacolod.

It was already in Catbalogan when I was able to watch the news about the quake. I will be going to Bacolod this Wednesday and I am hoping to get some news about the aftermath of the quake. So far, according to latest news, around 43 are dead due to the quake.
"NDRRMC said northern parts of the Negros Oriental registered severe damages in structures. A barangay hall also collapsed and cracks were also found in government and commercial buildings, roads and bridges in Guihulngan City. There were some"surface cracks" as well in RSB Building, Abellana National School, and in St. Vincent Gen. Hospital in Cebu City, NDRRMC said." (Yahoo News)

In times like this, we need to teach ourselves, especially our children, what to do when an earthquake happens. Here are some tips on what to do during an earthquake:

"In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you:

DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.

COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.

HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

Trying to move during shaking puts you at risk: Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl; you therefore will most likely be knocked to the ground where you happen to be. So it is best to drop before the earthquake drops you, and find nearby shelter or use your arms and hands to protect your head and neck. "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" gives you the best overall chance of quickly protecting yourself during an earthquake... even during quakes that cause furniture to move about rooms, and even in buildings that might ultimately collapse.

The greatest danger is from falling and flying objects: Studies of injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes over the last several decades show that you are much more likely to be injured by falling or flying objects (TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases, etc.) than to die in a collapsed building. "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" (as described above) will protect you from most of these injuries.

If there is no furniture nearby, you can still reduce the chance of injury from falling objects by getting down next to an interior wall and covering your head and neck with your arms (exterior walls are more likely to collapse and have windows that may break). If you are in bed, the best thing to do is to stay there and cover your head with a pillow. Studies of injuries in earthquakes show that people who moved from their beds would not have been injured if they had remained in bed." (Taken from Earthquake Country Info)

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