Pass the test-A A +A
One Small Voice
Friday, August 10, 2012
THE worst is yet to come. This is not being pessimistic. This is being realistic.
Just when we thought that what we have endured not too long ago was already as bad as it can get, that wrath supposedly being a once in a lifetime experience, we were faced with yet another tragedy so soon after that previous one.
To be honest to ourselves, in order to protect lives and in order to protect properties, we have to admit and to accept, albeit begrudgingly, that things are not getting any better. Always, it is better to prepare for the worst, while, still, hoping for the best.
Once more, once again, we were surprised and shocked at the turn of events. It is not just the fact of flooding. It is the fact of flooding not only in more places but also in the gravity of the flooding in all these places.
Yes, there are so many people willing to help. No, we cannot stop at just being thankful for all the many people who are willing to help. We have to organize, prioritize and systematize this help.
We all have to know, prior to any calamity, the various sources of assistance and the kind and the volume of this assistance. This is organizing. It must be done before, not after, disaster strikes.
First, we have to have an inventory of personnel we can count on. This includes personnel who have the training to conduct search and rescue operations. This includes personnel who, though without training for search and rescue operations, can help in communications management in receiving and reporting information that requires action, can help in accepting, packing and repacking of relief goods, can help in distributing relief goods, among many others.
Second, we have to have an inventory of equipment for search and rescue and for the distribution of relief goods, not just from the government but from international organizations, non-government organizations, organized volunteers, unorganized volunteers who shall be organized from here on, among many others.
Third, we have to have an inventory of facilities for evacuation, for acceptance of relief goods, for packing of relief goods, for repacking of relief goods, for warehousing of relief goods, among many others.
Fourth, we have to have an inventory of supplies, particularly food, water and clothing that can be requested for donation, at least, or purchased for distribution, at most.
We all have to know, prior to any calamity, the areas that are most vulnerable, not only by tradition and by experience, but also by expectation and through foresight based on the worsening direction the gravity of calamity is going. This is prioritizing. It must be done before, not after, disaster strikes.
All these areas, then, shall be given levels of priority, in order to prepare for a situation where no community is left behind because of isolation.
We all have to know, prior to any calamity, the command and control structure that shall direct the flow of help, in directing who shall go where, in directing what shall be brought to whom, in directing when who shall go where and when what shall be brought to whom, among many others. This management structure pertains to both public and private assets and resources. This is systematizing. It must be done before, not after, disaster strikes.
Help is good, without a doubt. But help can mean so much more when organized, prioritized and systematized. The point is not just that help is available. The point is to maximize the effect and the impact of whatever help that is available.
Of course, all of the above are meant to respond to emergencies when they occur. Moving forward, however, requires more long-term actions such as relocation to safe and secure areas of all those who are vulnerable and this program shall include established access to livelihood and other opportunities; such as the immediate implementation of flood control projects; such as dredging and desilting of catch basins and waterways; such as prohibition of structures that might reduce the size of catch basins and impede the flow of water in waterways; such as strategic urban planning; such as many others.
We have to seriously and sincerely take note and take action on all the lessons taught and on all the lessons learned. There is no other way for us to pass the test. This is the one and only way for us to pass the test.
Comments are most welcome. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 10, 2012.