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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Is your family ready for disaster?

DISASTER management specialists are trying to promote a more personal approach that will involve families, not just the barangays they live in, in preparing for calamities.

In Bogo City, the council approved last August, nine months after Yolanda, an ordinance requiring all 29 barangays to teach each family to get disaster-ready.

Ben Frederick Rodriguez, Bogo City’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer, showed Sun.Star Cebu a prototype data card that will be given to each family member, which contains the person’s full name, address, blood type, allergies, three designated post-disaster meeting places and contact numbers of adult relatives outside the city.

It also contains the contact number of the barangay captain, and the ordinance likewise requires each family to prepare enough emergency food and water supplies for two to three days.

Local government units must be able to support a family-based disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) plan, said Ver Neil Balaba, Office of Civil Defense Technical Support Division chief.

“Gikan sa barangay, ginaog nila sa tagsa tagsa ka panimalay. Mao nang gusto nato i-model (From the barangay, officials reached out to each household. That is what we want to use as a model),” Baltazar Tribunalo, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) head, told Sun.Star Cebu.

San Francisco town, for its part, anchors its DRRM plan on a purok system. A purok is a sub-unit of a barangay.

Whether they organize at the level of households or puroks, each local government unit (LGU) needs to have a contingency and evacuation plan for the worst-case scenario, Balaba said. This will help LGUs figure out more quickly how many persons each calamity has struck, as well as keep track of their relief materials.

Balaba suggested that LGUs sort out the details now.

In Bogo City’s Information Management Preparation for Disasters (I.M. PrepareD) program, families, barangays, schools and businesses are supposed to be covered.

“It is a must for each family, barangay, school and business to post within their area their emergency and evacuation maps, emergency directories and a checklist for emergency kits,” the ordinance provides.

Barangay Nailon’s contingency map, for example, shows how many persons in the community are at risk, how many houses were made of light materials and how many houses still remained in hazard zones. The map also shows the evacuation centers, routes for getting to these centers, pick-up points and the areas at high risk of flooding, strong winds, tsunami and storm surge.

Rodriguez said the plan is to teach each family to figure out how to contact each other and to identify a meeting place in case they get separated during a disaster.

Each family is also encouraged to prepare enough dry, non-perishable food that does not require cooking for the first few days after a calamity.
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