Government, private sector step up preparations for the next calamity
IF A NATURAL calamity were to strike today, exactly two years after the magnitude 6.9 Negros earthquake threw Cebu residents into a panic, would Cebuanos now know what to do?
Alfredo Arquillano Jr., former vice mayor of San Francisco town in the Camotes Islands, Cebu, said there is a disaster every year, but disaster preparedness is not prioritized.
The United Nations Sasakawa Awardee for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011 said the government has a great role to play in giving the people the information they need to deal with disasters.
“Ang gobyerno ang pag-ayuda. Dapat sila masayod unsay angay nga mahibaw-an sa katawhan (The government’s role is to help. They should be aware of what their constituents need to know),” Arquillano said.
In San Francisco, he said, the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), adopted by the Philippines in 2005, was translated to Cebuano-Visayan, so it will be understood by the community. It is posted in the different sitios of his town.
The HFA, a 10-year plan endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly to build disaster-resilient communities, outlines five priorities to reduce loss of lives and social, economic and environment assets.
These are making disaster risk reduction a national and local priority, identifying the risks and taking action, increasing the level of awareness of officials and residents, reducing the risk factors, and being ready to respond to disasters.
Arquillano said that by translating this guide, people would know what they need to do.
About 1,000 residents in Tulang Diyot, an islet barangay in San Francisco, were saved after the residents were evacuated to the mainland of Camotes Island a day before super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) struck on Nov. 8, 2013.