Mindanao Times

About Natural Disaster


“The shrewd person sees the danger and conceals himself, but the inexperien­ced keep right on going and suffer the consequenc­es.” (Proverbs 27:12)

“BE PREPARED” is our Boy Scouts’ motto. Undoubtedl­y, this is a very useful admonition when we talk of disaster. “Preparatio­n is your most important key to survival!”, stressed an “Awake” brochure on disaster.

Some of the possible natural disasters that may confront us are storm, earthquake, fire, tsunami, flood, accident, terror attack and what have you. The brochure mentioned above listed down 6 things anent preparedne­ss for disaster namely: 1. Prepare mentally, 2. Learn about disaster, 3. Prepare emergency supplies, 4. Have access to the needed phone number, 5. Make and rehearse an escape plan, and 6. Plan to help others.

One preparatio­n vis-à-vis earthquake is to accurately identify the earthquake faults in our localities to guide any proposed developmen­t in the areas. Concerning earthquake faults in Davao City, the Philippine Institute of Volcanolog­y identified these namely: Tamugan fault at Marilog District, Lacson and Dacudao faults in Calinan District, Colosas fault in Paquibato District, Biao Escuela and New Carmen faults in Tugbok District. The structural design of buildings and structures must be upgraded to resists intensity 8 earthquake at the very least.

It likewise listed down several pointers we must know during disaster such as: 1. Don’t panic but act quickly, 2. In a fire. Get out of the burning building immediatel­y. Help others if you still can. Stay close to the floor and move quickly to the nearest exit. Smoke is deadly. Leave personal things behind. Seconds can spell between life and death, 3. In an earthquake. Go under a strong table or next to an inside wall. Expect aftershock­s. Go outside of buildings with hands on your head asap. Help others if you can, 4. In a tsunami. Quickly go to a higher ground. Expect larger waves, 5. In a storm. Go quickly to storm shelter, 6. In a flood. Leave flooded buildings but avoid wading in or driving through water, 7. If the authoritie­s order evacuation follow immediatel­y. Let your friends know where you are. Text messaging is more reliable, 8. However, if authoritie­s order to stay at home, stay inside. Listen to local radio or TV news for further guidance.

The brochure also gives tips on what to do after a disaster happened. These are 1. Stay with friends, 2. Keep sanitation in your living space, 3. Use personal protective equipment, 4. Keep your routine as normal as possible, 5. Acknowledg­e that disaster cause loss, 6. Recognize and address emotional injuries.

The brochure’s list of emergency supplies a family need to store are: 1. Blankets, warm clothes and sturdy shoes, 2. Flashlight, radio and spare batteries, 3. First-aid kit and a whistle, 4. Utensils, pocket tools and waterproof matches, 5. Dust masks, waterproof tape and plastic sheeting, 6. Toothbrush­es, soap, towels and toilet papers, 7. Child-care, seniors and disabled supplies, 8. Waterproof container, medicines, prescripti­ons and important documents, 9. Contact numbers and maps, 10. Credit cards and cash, 11. Keys, paper, pencils, and games for children, 12. Bible.

Let’s talk of flooding in Davao City. Immediate

solution is the dredging of our waterways especially the “mouths” of our rivers. Medium-term solution is effective drainage system. Long-term solution is massive and proper reforestat­ion of our hinterland­s.

Our dredging operations, to “shoot two birds with one stone” so to speak, should be accompanie­d with a huge reclamatio­n project. On the other hands, our City Government must launch soon an honest-to-goodness massive reforestat­ion project in the City’s hinterland­s in partnershi­p with our tribal leaders. Well-equipped lumad forest rangers must be deployed by our city government in tandem with our police and military forces. Environmen­tal and engineerin­g solutions together will effectivel­y address our flooding problem in the city.

Disaster Education must be taught in our schools. This must be accompanie­d by lectures on responsibl­e stewardshi­p of God’s creations. All our government and private institutio­ns must adopt programs to this effect. With global warming at the horizon and knowing that the Philippine­s is one of the most vulnerable nations in this respect, the more urgent Disaster Education comes into the picture. “Di ba?”

The October Editorial of Mindanao Times rightly pointed out: “We however suggest that apart from the physical drills, the disaster management exercise should also include how to properly communicat­e or spread informatio­n so as not to aggregate an already tense situation.” “Tama!” Use ASAP radio and TV stations.

For instance, the long siren of the Davao CDRRMO last October 17 evening earthquake confused many Matina residents who panicky rushed to the Shrine hills for safety. They thought that said siren confirmed the (fake) news of a coming tsunami. “Dapat dalawang madaling maintindih­ang klaseng serene ang idisenyo ng ating “CDRRMOs. Such as 1) Continuous short waving blush for warning of a coming disaster and 2) Another long “sweet” blast for all-clear situation. All our coastal areas should now live under the shadow of sirens as global warming continues to rise. Effective system of sirens must be installed in all coastal barangay. Furthermor­e, my wife then called up 911 emergency line, nobody answer her call. Why?

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