Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Papa Speaks: Disaster Preparedness Part2

Yolanda also thought us how we should handle situations if Mother Nature sends out one of her kakambal (Huwag naman sana , Lord.)

The first thing to prepare is YOU.

Here’s a link of a FREE copy of the “The LDS Preparedness Manual”. Here you can find articles related to preparedness subjects on food storage, communications, emergency evacuation etc.

What should be done in the future? Modernize Disaster Preparation.  MODERNIZE OUR POLITICIANS :) Political bickering should be stopped.  Kidding aside...

1.   Early Warning System - PAGASA can seek out help of other countries in providing minute-by-minute or hour-by-hour feed of weather sytems. I know they are competitive enough but in reality modern weather equipment is a must. LGUs can also invest on early warning systems such as public address systems and other field equipment that can help them see what's happening in their area of responsibility.

2.   Invest in Evacuation Centers – Can this system be suitable in Philippine conditions?

This is the Statim Shelter System. Here’s the product brochure if you want to see what it can do. We have construction companies around that I think can create a similar concept. All praises to the one who will step up. (Consunji, MDC, Megaworld, Anyone?)

3.   Modernize our Lift assets - 3 PAF C-130s isn't enough. You have seen how many cargo planes from the different countries came to the rescue. From C-130s to C-17 to KDC-10, all providing vital roles in transportation of relief goods, equipment and personnel and also evacuees. The rotary wings were also needed when there is no runway. They can hover for hours and can reach far areas that fixed-wings can't. So What? So This... Our government should invest in these assets. Heavy lift planes include C-130 and C-17s, but with budget contraint they can opt to choose C-130-like cargo planes. There are Medium Lift Air Assets currently in the pipeline for procurement. Medium lift airplanes are like those turbo-prop Cebu Pacific planes, military-grade aircrafts as C-295 from EADS can do. It can land on short runways which I guess most of PHI's runways are. Then there Light Lift Air assests. These kinds of planes are for rugged and short runways.

Top Left to clockwise – Netherland’s KDC-10, Canada’s C-17, PAF C-130, Canada’s CC-150

Rotary wing assets are vital too; Huey helicopters are our AFP work horses. We need more of such kind that can lift people, carry supplies and can do search and rescue. If we invest now, these can be used for 2-3 decades with proper maintenance.
Top Left to clockwise – PAF UH-1, PAF Sokol, USN SH-60 Seahawk, USMC V-22 Osprey
The Navy is also set to acquire two Strategic Support Vessels that look like this, similar to what Indonesia has:

These vessels have hospitals inside, can carry tons of relief goods, can transport more, and choppers can land on it.

To cut the long story short, the government needs to at least have the quarter of our National Budget to fully modernize our Armed forces (If you compare it to Indonesia). AFP Modernization law states that Php75B (Indonesia has Php680B) will be used for modernization for a modest AFP, but the spoiler is it will be spread for 5 years. Php15B a year, IMHO, is indeed modest. Tamang budget lang ba. Pero sa mahal ng mga assets na iyan, ung Php15B/year ubos agad sa isang project palang.

4.   NDRRMC and AFP should be "separated" - AFP is trained for primarily for war. I think it would be just right that NDRRMC should be a rescue-centric entity. All personnel should be rescue/risk management-champions. If there's an impending/ongoing disaster, they will be the Command Center. AFAIK, Sec Gazmin handles both. So parang walang focus. The agency can be under the Office of the President. Or parang PNP, AFP, tapos Civil Defence Forces (CDF). It is just an idea of mine na merong rescue-centric academe na parang PNPA, PMA tapos meron ding CDF Academy.

5.   Invest in Field Hospital, Kitchens and Desalinators and Water Purifier system - These are vital when everything is you have evacuation centers. Relief goods are OK. But, if people only eat 3-4 times a day and they only receive relief goods 1x-2x a week, then those goods won't be enough. IMO, field kitchens can cook food anytime of the day. Ration in short. Wala ng mag-aagawan ng relief goods dahil pipila nalang sila para sa ration ng food. Essential din ang Field  Desalinators and Water Purification System specially for coastal communities. It can turn salt water or creek water to potable water. Field Hostpitals are also vital; did you see what the Australians deployed in Tacloban airport? Astig diba? Mobile and collapsible hospital-in-one. Each LGU can have one on their respective towns for them to use in case of emergency. Manpower won't be an issue, I guess. Meanwhile, Japanese aid workers were reportedly fielding their wireless xray kits (link).

6.   Field Tents - look at what our Indonesian Friends donated

And to my fellow Filipinos, Please kapag sinabihan na kayong lumikas, huwag ng matigas ang ulo.

You thought the Disaster preparation is not feasible in the Philippines, see these Role Models:

Tulang Diyot Island, Cebu Link

"All residents of Tulang Diyot Island in a Cebu town survived even if some 500 houses were destroyed by winds and waves from typhoon Yolanda, a UN report said.
 The report attributed the absence of casualties to the evacuation of around 1,000 people from the island under San Francisco town Mayor Alfredo Arquillano’s orders.
 “When it was clear how bad the typhoon would be, we decided to evacuate all 1,000 people,” the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction quoted the mayor as saying.
 Arquillano, who UNISDR recognized as a champion of for its Making Cities Resilient Campaign, said his constituents also “understood the need to move to safety.”"
"We have been working for years on early warnings, evacuations,” said Arquillano, under whose leadership San Francisco won a UN Disaster Risk Reduction Award in 2011.
 “It just shows that preparedness pays,” the mayor said further, adding that “the awareness level of the community was so high that [the evacuation] went well.”"

Albay Province

Albay Public Safety & Emergency Management Office (APSEMO). Role Model in Institutionalised and innovative disaster risk management. Link

"With institutionalized Albay Public Safety & Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), regular annual budget appropriation, permanent personnel, institutionalized research and education in partnership with academe, with safe school and safe hospital programs in partnership with Dept of Education, Dept of Health supported by AECID-Spain, with risk maps developed by PHIVOLCS, Mines and Geo-
Sciences Bureau as well as by the Local Government Units, Population data by type of hazard existing on file used as input in planning and currently conducting integration of DRR

To Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Education and trainings are done by the local technical staff of APSEMO, Structural projects as part of the regular program."
The aim of this post is to make us realize that these assets are investments when disaster strikes.
Finally, I admit, it’s easy for me to say all these things. But I think Yolanda served as an eye opener for us.

Thanks to the timawa.net/forum community for the news feeds, insights, brilliant ideas, and photos.

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