Unusual: EDSA with no vehicles, thanks to earthquake drill

The Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) is normally traffic-heavy on weekdays, but on July 30, the day of the earthquake drill, it was eerily empty. The drill, led by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, was made as a preparation for the “Big One” earthquake that may hit portions of the National Capital Region. As part of the drill, the MMDA personnel halted the motorists on major highways for a few minutes.

Drivers and social media users took the opportunity to take pictures of the unusual event.

According to a study by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), a massive earthquake could happen soon if the West Valley Fault moves.

The West Valley Fault or formerly known as Marikina Valley Fault system is a 100-kilometer long fault system. In the newly released map made by the Phivolcs the fault transverse several cities in Metro Manila including Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Muntinlupa, and nearby provinces Rizal (Rodriquez), Bulacan (Doña Remedios, Trinidad, Norzgaray, San Jose Del Monte City), Cavite (Silang, General Mariano Alvarez, Carmona) and Laguna (Cabuyao, San Pedro City, Biñan, Sta Rosa, Calamba). The map was released with the help of Australian Aid and the United Nations Development Program.

The Phivolcs has estimated that around 113,600 may be injured and 33,500 may die in case the “Big One” hits Metro Manila.

According to Phivolcs, the fault has moved at least four times in the last 1,400 years, or an estimated movement roughly every 400 years. The last movement was 357 years ago in 1658, causing many to speculate that the fault is nearing or already due for its next quake.

The drill and exercises were based on the results of the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

According to MMEIRS, about forty percent of residential buildings in the Metro will be partially or heavily damaged.

After the drill though, EDSA was back to normal with the deluge of vehicles.