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Friday, June 14, 2024

Awareness, preparedness keys to saving lives

“Awareness and preparedness, as well as sound urban planning and reforestation, are keys to saving people’s lives from the horrors of major natural disasters”

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My compadre mentioned about his OJT daughter’s company in Taguig City conducting a fire and earthquake drill on Tuesday.

It’s a truly touching scene when a dad gets to chat with his fully-grown little girl coming home from job training, telling him what fun it was to “drop, cover and hold’’ during the simulated earthquake.

They both laughed when she said her group ended up eating snacks at a fast-food nearby with their supervisor after their evacuation.

But come to think of it, the specter of “the Big One” should be a serious concern following the magnitude 6.7 tremor in Abra Province which was felt all the way down to Central Luzon.

Billions of pesos were lost in property damage, aggravating the devastation left by the previous earthquake and typhoons in the North.

I’ve heard about several other private firms holding the fire and earthquake drills.

Disaster risk-reduction awareness should be encouraged and promoted with or without the government requiring such exercises.

We need to know what to do during any instance of emergency such as earthquake, fire, super typhoon, landslide and massive flood.

Each and everyone should know by heart what to do to save oneself and then help the others at home or at the workplace safe when any such dire situation occurs.

What if the Big One, such as an intensity 7 earthquake, hits Metro Manila?

Unfortunately, such a horrifying and grim scenario is a possibility, according to international experts who urged better urban planning and preparedness.

Metro Manila was damaged tremendously when a 7.7 magnitude tremor rumbled underneath Northern and Central Luzon on July 16, 1990 and killed 1,621 people – its epicenter near the town of Rizal in Nueva Ecija – and left buildings in Baguio City, Agoo in La Union and Dagupan in Pangasinan, in ruins.

This week we also marked the ninth anniversary of super typhoon Yolanda tragedy that shattered Tacloban City, and devastated Leyte and Samar provinces.

President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr. led the commemoration rites to honor the dead, including those reported missing or unaccounted for, as the death toll could reach 10,000.

“If you remember during the count of the casualties, the count was stopped, and we knew that there were still thousands out there. And for those thousands, those countless thousands, we come here, we commemorate,” PBBM said.

After Yolanda wreaked havoc, the government then reported 6,300 people dead and leaving over 4.4 million homeless. It turned out thousands more were missing, swept away by the gigantic tidal waves.

The President lauded the survivors and international donors for rebuilding Tacloban City, inspiring hope among all Filiinos.

“It is a wondrous sight to see. It always gives us hope that even if there are tragedies and disasters in other places, we know that the Filipino spirit will never be quelled. The Filipino spirit will always burn bright and bring back normal life to their communities. That is what we commemorate,” PBBM said.

During the event, cash aid was granted to recipients of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), the Department of Agriculture’s Rice Farmer Financial Assistance Program, and the Department of Labor and Employment’s TUPAD Emergency Employment Program.

Although natural disasters such as earthquakes, super typhoons and volcanic eruptions cannot possibly be controlled or stopped, we can prepare adequately to mitigate the impact of such conflagrations.

Awareness and preparedness, as well as sound urban planning and reforestation, are keys to saving people’s lives from the horrors of major natural disasters.

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