west-valley-fault-20150520The “Big One” refers to the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could hit Metro Manila if the West Valley Fault moves. It is the worst-case scenario for the 100-kilometer fault that runs through six cities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Four major earthquakes have taken place over the West Valley Fault in the last 1,400 years, with an interval of 400 to 500 years. The last major earthquake originating from the fault was recorded in 1658 or 357 years ago. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warns that the Big One may happen any time soon, perhaps during our lifetime. According to the Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS), the Big One will result in the collapse of 170,000 residential houses and the death of 34,000 people. Another 114,000 individuals will be injured while 340,000 houses will be partly damaged.

My house stands about four kilometers from the fault; however, I don’t think it was built to withstand a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Therefore, I and many friends of mine are seriously making preparations for the Big One. I am neither a hoarder nor a doomsday prophet, but I believe it is wise to make some preparations. Maintain stocks of food and water. Heed the numerous warnings of Phivolcs: Prepare for the Big One!

While the experts say that the Big One is inevitable and impending, I also believe that it is my responsibility to “stand in the gap”on behalf of my countrymen and pray for God’s mercy. He is very much able to stop this deadly seismological phenomenon from happening. God is infinitely bigger than the Big One. Therefore, I commit to pray daily for God to spare the country from all the potential death and destruction that the Big One may bring. And I invite you to join me in pleading for God’s mercy.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name (Psalm 46:1; 119:132).

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