Tacloban steps up post-‘Yolanda’ disaster preparedness

By Sarwell Meniano

November 10, 2017, 3:59 pm

TACLOBAN CITY -- Drawing lessons from super typhoon Yolanda, the city government here said they are more prepared to respond to emergencies with better security plans and food provisions.

City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Ildebrando Bernadas said the city is 80 to 90 percent prepared everyday for any extreme weather condition.

The local government laid out a comprehensive disaster risk reduction management plan for ‎2016-2022, giving specific tasks to every city government offices.

Under the plan, the police are no longer involved in evacuation and rescue operations since they are tasked to maintain peace and order such as preventing massive looting.

“One of the things that really crippled Tacloban was the massive looting. We don’t like it to happen again. All police and military will focus on securing the facilities especially the business facilities,” Bernadas said on Friday.

Bernadas added that price control monitoring will be intensified after a disaster because some businessman will take advantage of the situation.

“There is a memorandum of agreement with businessmen in Tacloban that they will supply the basic needs of survivors,” he said.

With the help of non-government organizations, evacuation centers have been constructed in strategic areas. Some private schools and churches have been identified as temporary shelters in case of disasters.

“Villages in Tacloban City are fully prepared now than before since super typhoon Yolanda really taught us very important lessons and that is to be prepared in any forms of calamities,” Bernadas added.

Village chiefs are also better prepared to handle disasters with the training provided by the city government.

“It (super typhoon) was a blessing in disguise since now we are more educated, more active, and more prepared,” said Youngfield village chief Marciana Talbo.

“We are very grateful for the disaster preparedness training conducted in our villages by the city government, NGOs, and Department of Social Welfare and Development. Because of these training, people in our village are fully aware of what to do during emergencies,” she added.
Talbo has been asking for more disaster response equipment so they would be less dependent on the city government.

Village officials also distributed bags where families can place their post-disaster immediate needs.

In the city’s V&G subdivision, village chief Elizabeth Lesiguez said there is a hotline number provided to all residents to easily contact local authorities in case of emergencies.”

“Our village watchmen have been securing areas that are very prone to flooding during bad weather,” she added

The village is a recipient of a covered court project from the city government convertible into an evacuation center.

“The villages must be resilient themselves because they are the front liners in the city disaster not the city government,” he said.

Last year, the city government launched the community climate guide and response system. The program uses a text blast scheme to inform local residents of emergency advisory in times of calamities and disaster.

It allows residents to report their conditions during an emergency and in critical situation. The aim is to achieve zero-casualty.

The system is a 24/7 emergency service which tap city emergency service response provider such as the police, rescue unit, fire department, and its city disaster risk reduction management council chaired by Mayor Cristina Romualdez to respond in times of disaster. (With reports from Ali Krause Gamana & Christine Quimbo, OJT/PNA)