MANILA – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said Saturday it is prepared to deploy a contingent to help in the ongoing rescue and relief efforts in Morocco, which is reeling from the effects of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that destroyed communities and killed nearly 3,000 people.
"We are deeply saddened by the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Morocco. We want to assure Morocco that the Philippines is more than willing to extend assistance to support the ongoing response operations. We are organizing a humanitarian contingent for possible deployment,” OCD administrator, Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno, said in a statement.
Nepomuceno said the OCD, as the executive arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), is already making arrangements and is looking into the possible deployment of the Philippine Inter-Agency Humanitarian Contingent (PIAHC) to Morocco where search, rescue and retrieval operations are still ongoing.
The contingent will consist of personnel from the OCD, 525th Engineering Combat Battalion of the Philippine Army, 505th Search and Rescue Group of the Philippine Air Force, Bureau of Fire Protection - Special Rescue Unit, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Davao Rescue 911, and Department of Health.
In February this year, the Philippines sent an 82-man PIAHC to Turkiye to assist in the response operations of the quake-ravaged country.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Turkiye and Syria left 50,288 deaths and 125,857 injured individuals.
This contingent assisted in medical and search, rescue, and retrieval operations.
Meanwhile, Nepomuceno, who is also NDRRMC executive director, said the earthquake in Morocco is a stark reminder for all to continuously prepare against the threat of earthquakes, especially the big ones.
He called on the general public and other stakeholders to actively take part in the government’s earthquake resilience endeavors.
“It is terrifying that in just seconds, an earthquake could claim many lives and leave massive destruction. Through the whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach, we should strengthen our prevention, mitigation, and preparedness measures against earthquakes,” he said. (PNA)