By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, July 30 (PNA) — How prepared are airports and its authorities to deal the possible 7.2 earthquake to hit Metro Manila or the “big one”?
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Honrado, who described the airports as “structurally sound” said that the answer was–always.
“The current airport administration has always been keen towards the safety of its passengers,” Honrado said in a statement, following the earthquake drill conducted at the MIAA Administration building on Thursday.
MIAA is among the many government agencies which took part in the Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) metro-wide earthquake drill in preparation for the foreseen quake to hit Metro Manila.
Honrado said that all Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals were designed following appropriate building codes and retrofitted further to ensure the structural integrity of the buildings.
He also stressed that part of the authority’s priority projects was the structural retrofitting of all terminals as an added safety measure.
“(NAIA) Terminals 1 and 3, in particular, needed retrofitting and we have successfully accomplished that,” he said.
The airport chief said that following retrofitting works, structural experts gave their assurance that the terminals can withstand a 7.6 magnitude earthquake.
The retrofitting of Terminal 3 started in 2012 and was completed middle of 2013. On the other hand, retrofitting works of Terminal 1 commenced last year and were completed early 2015.
Honrado further said that the terminals first underwent a seismic hazard assessment, which made use of computer models of the terminals subjected to different types of earthquakes based on a worldwide earthquake database.
The dominant seismic source contributing to the assessment was the Marikina Valley Fault System, the west segment of which could potentially generate a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
The computerized inspection observed how each structural member of the terminals responded to different types of ground movement. The needed retrofit designs for the terminals were then determined after the assessment.
Honrado meanwhile said that while buildings were structurally sound, personnel as well as passengers also needed to ensure safety preparation and carry out an emergency evacuation plan.
Thursday’s quake drill consisted of briefings regarding the airport’s earthquake emergency plan, which covers evacuation procedures and assembly areas per terminal; tabletop exercises; and information dissemination. (PNA)