Risk reduction-A A +A
Thursday, January 17, 2013
INFORMATION and Communication Technologies (ICT) are critical enablers not only in sustaining socio-economic initiatives but also in pro-actively responding to impending disasters and in post disaster situations where immediate and efficient communication is critical in saving lives, and in the retrieval of those who remain missing in hard-hit areas such as those that have been left devastated by typhoon Pablo.
Up close in the aftermath of the disaster, families depend not only on their own way of sharing information and updates but are also increasingly relying on the technology which is way much faster and reliable.
“Kadtong bagyo, nakuha namo ang impormasyon ug mga update gikan a health worker, ginatext mi niya sa kanunay kung unsa ang buhaton ug asa muadto kung nay mahitabo,” Cecilia, 39 and a resident of New Bataan in Compostela Valley, said. The health worker, Gina, later perished when the waters came rushing and she decided to go house to house to wake up her neighbors.
In many ways, communication networks become purveyors of information and have an important role in the survival of communities and in enabling them to manage changes in their environment. Manong Inigo, 59, said that days before the typhoon, they got the information from their relatives that a typhoon was in the offing.
“Wala’y nagpahibalo sa amo gikan sa LGU kung unsa ang himuon kung nay bagyo, o kung asa mi muadto para mag bakwit. Ngadto ra mi sa balay, giingnan mi sa among mga paryente nga naa sa Davao nga naa lagi daw bagyo nga muabot pero wala pud mi nasayod nga ingon adto diay ang mahitabo, wala man pud mi kabalo unsa ang buhaton (There was no one from the LGU who informed us on what to do during typhoons, or where to evacuate. We just learnt it from our relatives in other areas, but we do not know what to do during emergencies),” he added.
Network sites have not been spared from the damage though but full restoration of signals is underway through the rebuilding of cell sites, parabolas and fiber optics. Globe Telecom has deployed makeshift towers as stand-in solution to the lack of signal in the area of Davao Oriental
The means for communication of information that may save lives and reduce the risks during disasters are within the reach for many local communities.
There is a need for government and telecommunication companies to collaborate and ensure that services are responsive and that they get to proactively do their role in preventing disasters and in the rebuilding of lives.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 17, 2013.