In an effort to build disaster-resilient communities, a series of landslide and earthquake drills and simulations will be implemented in four Benguet municipalities covered by the current World Food Programme (WFP) project during the first quarter.
The activity aimed to measure effectiveness of the developed Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) plans, an output of the previous WFP project, through actual demonstration of its components by the partner communities. This will facilitate improvement of their DRRM plan by looking at the gaps during their delivery.
For its procedure, the participants are advised to think of it as a “realistic” circumstance. It starts with an emergency situation alarm that signals occurrence of a disaster/calamity. Depending on the type of scenario, survivors must do preventive measures to avoid risk (anticipated life threats) like doing “duck and cover” and then going to the safest zone (for earthquake). Afterwards, the community emergency responders perform the search and rescue operations for calamity survivors and then, the retrieved will be brought to the nearby evacuation site for medical and psychological treatment.
As of article writing, five earthquake simulation and drills were conducted in pilot elementary and secondary public schools in January and February. These were Kapangan National High School; Camp 30 Elementary School and Atok National High School; Kibungan Elementary School, Kibungan National High School; and Tacadang Elementary School. A barangay-wide earthquake drill was conducted in Sagpat, Kibungan.
Some of the identified common challenges were the late arrival of rescuers at the incident site due to communication problem, inability of the rescuers to perform basic first aid, and inadequate DRRM equipment.
Carlo Racelis, JVOFI Training Facilitator, said that in improving the capacity of communities towards DRRM, a culture of safety among community members must be established. “DRRM is a way of life. It should become a part of our daily life. It should be taught to our children,” he emphasized.
Further, he advised the partner communities to regularly revisit their DRRM plan. This will ensure that its contents respond holistically to their current and future community-needs.
Landslide simulations and drills will be conducted during the municipal-wide conduct of activity in March and April. Earthquakes and landslides are common disasters in landlocked areas like the province of Benguet.
The activity was part of the project titled “Capacity-building Support to the Government of the Philippines through Disaster Preparedness and Response,” implemented by the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. The target communities are Atok, Kapangan, Kibungan and Tublay.// IVAN P. LAYAG