CITY OF SAN FERNANDO The provincial government of Nueva Ecija, along with the local government units (LGUs) of Gabaldon, Pantabangan and Licab over the weekend received unsinkable small watercraft (USW) each from the Department of Science and Technology DOST Central Luzon to help strengthen the preparedness and response efforts in times of calamity.

The USW’s portable design is suitable for an emergency quick response, has the capacity to float even when the water is shallow compared to a normal boat that floats only when the floodwaters are four feet or five feet high and its body made of a polyester resin-marine grade composite weighing about 180 pounds, light enough to be lifted by two persons.

According to DOST Provincial Director Leidi Mel Sicat, the USW turnover is under the agency's Expanded Implementation of the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (eCEST) program.

"The USW would help boost the LGUs' disaster response in mitigating the challenges encountered during and after calamities, especially during flooding. It is difficult for the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office-Nueva Ecija to rescue in small alleys using big equipment. Thus, through the small watercraft, it would be faster for the rescuers to reach the affected areas,” she said.

For his part, DOST Central Luzon Director Julius Caesar Sicat said the initiative is part of their efforts to strengthen the disaster rescue and relief capabilities of vulnerable communities in Central Luzon through the adoption of locally developed disaster risk reduction and management technologies.

He said the USW is also one of the tools to train the disaster risk reduction and management teams in the low-lying levels.

Last year, the DOST-3 provided a USW to the coastal and flood-prone towns of Bulacan – Bocaue, Bulakan, Calumpit, Hagonoy, Obando, Paombong, Pulilan – and the city of Malolos.