Evaluators commend Ilocos town’s earthquake response

BANGUI, Ilocos Norte — Earthquake drill evaluators has commended the municipality of Bangui in Ilocos Norte for the success of the conduct of the nationwide exercise.

Bangui town represented Region 1 as a pilot area for the simultaneous earthquake drill spearheaded by National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

After an hour of response operation, evaluators gave their observation and recommendation to the local government unit (LGU) during the post-assessment program.

Though there are some lacking particularly disaster response equipment, the group of evaluators from the different agencies and the academe agreed for a sufficient execution.

“Apart from some glitches in coordination and lack of disaster equipment, the Municipal Disaster and Risk Reduction team has shown an admirable performance,” a representative of the National Red Cross said.

Most of the commendation went to the medical team who worked in full force with the staff from the local health office. Rescue operation and information is well-taken.

The LGU has designated an evacuation area 15 minutes from the town’s municipal hall. It can accommodate up to 500 evacuees.

Humanitarian centers were also established with the social welfare group distributing relief goods and providing assistance to the victims.

The problem that the LGU has encountered is the lack of ambulance. Bangui only has two ambulances and these may not be enough during disaster operations, according to the evaluators.

Traffic management was also an issue during the drill since road management is very vital during disaster response.

“Upon hearing of the siren, traffic management should immediately clear the area going to the evacuation centers to maintain public safety,” a representative from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said.

Kristian Tabisaura, Officer-in-Charge of Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Services Division (RDRRMSSD) of the OCD in Region 1 also noted some suggestions and maintenance of the equipment.

“Residents of the area, especially in the coastal villages should be forewarned and immediately transfer to the designated evacuation centers to avoid casualties,” he said.

For his part, Bangui Mayor Diosdado Garvida said the drill was a good training for the people in their municipality in case of disasters like an earthquake.

“We cannot control the acts of nature. We need to prepare at our utmost best to minimize casualties,” Garvida said.

He added, “Expect the worst scenario. This is not a game. We must be serious in this drill. No matter how strong a tsunami is or any disaster, at least we know in mind what should be done.”

The municipality of Bangui was chosen to represent Region 1 in the nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill since it is one of the main coastal areas at risk of tsunamis.

The NDRRMC is set to conduct a series of drills as mandated by Republic Act 10121 or the so-called Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

Activities such as drills, trainings, and equipment are provided to build disaster resilient communities and reduce disaster risks. PNA/northboundasia.com