Lakeside residents warned of tsunami-like wave after quakes
Alexander Villafania

TAGUIG CITY, METRO MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) is warning residents living around large, enclosed bodies of water like lakes or bays about tsunami-like waves called “seiche” (pronounced “say-sh”) that is caused by a powerful earthquake or volcanic eruption.

A seiche is essentially water that is sloshing in an enclosed space when the area around it is being moved because of an earthquake or volcanic eruption. This back-and-forth movement of water can damage any object around the area of the like and could even pull objects inwards.

The PHIVOLCS’s compendium, the “Philippine Tsunamis and Seiches (1589-2012),” noted that the country has had six recorded seiche events from 1589 to 2012.

PHIVOLCS Science Research Specialist Joan Salcedo warned that people living around Laguna de Bay, particularly those in Muntinlupa City, could be affected if an earthquake or volcanic eruption occurs.

This warning comes at the heels of a report by the PHIVOLCS on the West Valley Fault system, which it said could be where a major earthquake could start. The agency warned that Metro Manila could be cut off from other nearby provinces as major bridges could collapse during an earthquake.

The agency has also called for Metro Manila mayors to prepare for magnitude 7.2 earthquake as the West Valley Fault system is “ripe for an earthquake.”

PHIVOLCS warned that over 30,000 could die from such a powerful earthquake.

One government agency, the Department of Education (DepEd), has also been identifying specific schools transected by the West Valley Fault system. Five schools have so far been found to be lying on top of the West Valley Fault system; three are in Muntinlupa, one is in Marikina, and another is in Taguig City.

DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro is also strengthening its earthquake preparedness programs in schools.

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