Technological innovations for earthquake risk reduction

Thirty-one years after the destructive 1990 M7.8 Luzon Earthquake, the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) continues to strengthen its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) efforts through technological innovations.

On 16 July 2021, DOST-PHIVOLCS featured the How Safe Is My House? mobile and web application and the 3D Philippines Program at an online press conference, InfoSentro sa PHIVOLCS, held via Zoom Meeting and Facebook Live.

DOST Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS OIC Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. recalled one of the lessons learned during the 1990 Luzon earthquake: “even low rise structures can be affected by a strong earthquake”. He then asked, “Are your houses safe during a strong earthquake?” Through the How Safe Is My House? App, stakeholders are provided with a tool for quick and simple evaluation of the safety and vulnerability of Concrete Hollow Block (CHB) houses and buildings to a strong earthquake.

Usec. Solidum emphasized the importance of proper construction practices. He expressed his advocacy to include construction standards and building safety in the High School curriculum to raise awareness about the appropriate design and standard materials for structures to withstand a strong earthquake.

The Institute also introduced the 3D Philippines (3DPH) Program, in partnership with De LaSalle University (DLSU), which is composed of two projects. DOST-PHIVOLCS leads the Optimization of the GeoRiskPH Integrated System through RIsk Assessments, Site Suitability Models, and 3D Visualizations to Aid Policy and Decision-making (3D Earth Risk), while DLSU heads the Geotechnical Mapping of Metro Manila Subsoil (GEMMMS). Outputs of the program include 3D visualizations of hazards assessment, sustainability models, and 3DPH information system. The program aims to encourage more collaboration, develop innovation, and formulate data-driven plans and policies.