Monday, July 1, 2013

Most vulnerable towns in Sorsogon conduct Emergency Simulation Exercise

(United Nations Forest Service (UNFS) representative Ms. Marg Olson (left) and Office of the Civil Defense-National Capital Region (OCD-NCR) Ms. Susan Quiambao.)

SORSOGON CITY, July 1 (PIA) – Even before the observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month this July, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) in partnership with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Region V is putting its best foot forward initiating activities that would further build up the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) specifically in areas vulnerable to hazards.

Sorsogon PDRRMO Department Head Raden Dimaano said the Simulation Emergency Exercise held in the towns of Juban on June 25-26 and in Irosin on June 27-28, 2013, focused on how the different committees of Municipal DRRM Council of both towns interact in an emergency situation with emphasis specifically on coordination, communication, information management, contingency planning and standard operating procedure.

“LGU emergency Simulation exercise helps concerned entities to prepare for and manage the unexpected, work on the initiatives, and make decisions under pressure with the best information available at the time the disaster strikes,” Mr. Dimaano articulated.

Present during the simulation exercise were representatives from various government agencies such as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD), and the Department of Health (DoH), as well as various humanitarian non-government organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations Forest Service (UNFS) representative Ms. Marg Olson.

The scenario simulated was the Bulusan Volcano eruption while on Alert level 2, re-creating a complex humanitarian disaster situation. Those taking part in the simulation have to respond to a stream of information and take appropriate actions as if responding in a real-life situation.

OCD-National Capital Region (NCR) Ms. Susan Quiambao who was also present during the exercise said that the human tragedy caused by eruption of Bulusan Volcano is essential in working together to improve each disaster preparedness and response efforts. “This exercise is an excellent tool to strengthen information flows as well as inter-agency communication and coordination in the Municipalities of Juban and in Irosin,” she added.

“When crisis or disaster strikes in a community the effect upon the people can be dramatic particularly if the onset is sudden. Actions during the first few hours can be crucial. This is the worst possible moment to discover that plans are flawed and key personnel do not know what to do. Whilst planning and preparedness are important, testing is arguably the most vital component of Local Government Unit thus how many per cent of our government test their continuity plans,” she explained.

The Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Given this condition, World Food Program strongly supports the Philippine government’s pro-active approach focusing on preparedness which is essential to the reduction and mitigation of disaster risks.

According to former Juban Mayor Jimmy Fragata, lessons learned from this simulation exercise will help improve the Local Government’s emergency response and preparedness capacities.

The simulation exercise is part of the larger World Food Programme (WFP) Philippines Disaster Preparedness and Response Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon/SLariosa, PDRRMO)

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