Pagadian City commemorates 1976 strong earthquake, tsunami with simultaneous drills

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, Aug. 17 (PNA) -– A simultaneous drill, joined by more than 2,000 people, was held here Monday marking the commemoration of the strong earthquake and tsunami that hit this city exactly 39 years ago.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) spearheaded the conduct of the simultaneous earthquake and tsunami drills at 8 a.m. Monday.

Haron Damada, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer, said the simultaneous drills were participated in by the residents of six urban coastal barangays that were among the hardest hit areas by the strong earthquake and tsunami on August 17, 1976.

The hardest hit barangays were the following: Dumagoc; Kawit; Santa Lucia; Santiago; San Pedro; and White Beach.

The other participants of the simultaneous drills included teachers, students, barangay officials, members of the Barangay Emergency Response Team (BERT), Philippine Red Cross volunteers, hospital staffs, soldiers, policemen, firemen, and fire volunteers.

Damada said the simultaneous drills kicked-off as the alarm system sounded at the City Commercial Center. The alarm signaled the evacuation to the identified and safe shelter areas.

The earthquake and tsunami drills were followed by a commemorative program conducted at the tsunami marker at the corners of Pajares and Pulmones Avenues that was attended by provincial and city officials headed by Gov. Antonio Cerilles and Mayor Romeo Pulmones, respectively.

It will be recalled that 1,440 people died, 7,701 were injured and 909 were recorded missing when an earthquake and tsunami hit this city on August 17, 1976.

At least 49,848 were also rendered homeless and most of the casualties and destruction were caused by a 20-foot high tsunami with a velocity of 720 kilometers per hour spawned by the 7.7 intensity earthquake.

The epicenter of the earthquake was at the Moro gulf. (PNA)