Manila, June 3, (dpa/GNA) – The World Bank said on Thursday it has approved a 300-million-dollar funding for the Philippines to protect public buildings in the capital, including schools and health centres, against earthquakes.
The Philippine Seismic Risk Reduction and Resilience Project would retrofit approximately 425 structures in Metro Manila "to reduce damage from natural hazards such as earthquakes and other climate-related events," the bank said in a statement.
The project will also finance the purchase of essential equipment for the Department of Public Works and Highways "to upgrade its capability for communication and restoration of mobility and transport in Metro Manila after a major earthquake," it added.
"Metro Manila ... is the seat of government and the country's population, economic, and cultural centre," said Ndiame Diop, the World Bank's country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
"Enhancing the safety of its buildings and structures while boosting institutional response to disasters will help protect the lives and safety of more than 12 million residents, including the poor and most vulnerable," he added.
"In addition, it will provide much-needed economic resilience for the country," Diop said.
The Philippines is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where about 90 per cent of the world's earthquakes take place.
Metro Manila is particularly vulnerable as it cuts across numerous earthquake generators, particularly the West Valley Fault that poses the most significant earthquake threat.
A risk assessment study in 2013 showed that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake along the West Valley Fault would result in an estimated 48,000 fatalities and 48 billion dollars in economic losses in the capital region.