Is Manila ready for the "Big One"

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

Manila, AR (KAIT) - Is the town of Manila ready for the "Big One?" Since it sits in the middle of the New Madrid Seismic Zone the town needs to be prepared.

Many long-term residents of Manila remember small earthquakes that rattled windows and sent dishes rolling off shelves.

Sue Fields shrugs her shoulders and says, "You get used to it."

Gary Patterson from the University of Memphis Earthquake center says the reason Manila feels so many little quakes is that it sits in the middle of Mississippi County which sits in the middle of the seismic zone Zig-Zag which leads, "All the way up to Southern Illinois."

Just like Haiti a major earthquake could happen here in Region 8 at any time. It happened before and it could again.

Manila Police Chief Jackie Hill says they try and plan for an earthquake like they try and plan their tornado response. "We have to think about it and prepare." Hill says.

The center section of Mississippi County, where Manila is located is filled with bridges over large ditches, rivers and lake areas. A big quake causing displacement and collapse of those bridges could possibly isolate Manila and other towns until help arrives.

Chief Hill says they have plans that include using the Sheriff's Department Helicopter and if worse comes to worse..

"We have the lake here, nearly everybody has a boat, we can get across."

Like many older towns in Region 8 Manila has many old non earthquake proof buildings. Most of which could not stand the shocks.

In the center of the town is a block long slab. These are all that remains of several old buildings that the owners tore down when they became to dangerous for occupancy and it was determined that they probably could not survive an earthquake.

As far as stockpiles of food and water Manila doesn't have much but if you add up all the little things, the planning, the preparations things like that. Manila is in pretty good shape.

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