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Friday, August 28, 2015

Maluso folks join earthquake-tsunami drill

By Rene V. Carbayas

MALUSO, Basilan – Residents of Barangay Shipyard Main of this town participated in the recently held earthquake-tsunami drill.

The scenario of the simulated earthquake-tsunami drill was: at 9:50 a.m. an 8.3-mangnitude earthquake with 50 kilometers depth location at southwest source of Sulu Trench. The Municipality of Maluso felt 7.9 intensity with secondary hazards possibly will occur like fire, landslides, and with 10 meters high tsunami. In five minutes the Tsunami will hit Barangay Shipyard Main and the rest of the coastal areas.

At the sound of the siren, the participants executed the “drop-cover-hold” position and after a few minutes, the participants moved to the Shipyard Elementary School as the evacuation site. This signaled also the convening of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Council that mobilized member-agencies to assess the situation and provided response and rescue efforts.

The municipal hall was identified as staging area with Maluso Police Chief Edwin Placio was designated Incident Commander and Municipal Planning Officer Joey Patrimonio was staging manager. Meanwhile, the Maluso DRRM office was identified as Emergency Operating Center (OEC) manned by DRRMO and Municipal Administrator Jojo S. Camlian with the personnel from the Office of the Civil Defense-BASULTA.

Security was provided by the combined forces of the local police and the 14SFC of the 4th Special Forces of the Philippine Army led by TSgt. Romeo Toribio.

Rescue and response teams were provided by the Philippine Red Cross, the Bureau of Fire-ARMM, and some community volunteers, among others.

The simulated victims of drowning tested responders’ ability to respond quickly in cases of earthquake-tsunami events.

At the debriefing session after the drill, the participants expressed their observations.

“Maganda and experience at ngayon alam na namin kung ano ang gagawin kung may tsunami (The experience is good and now we know what to do when tsunami strikes),” Alpiya, a resident of Shipyard said.

The Maluso DRRMC members identified the lack of communication equipment, which hindered the full flow of information and communication between and among rescuers, responders, and incident command center, as one of the major gaps in the drill.

Maluso DRRMO Camlian said that they would look into this gap and other concerns to strengthen their ability to respond to situations. He also told the participants that worst thing could happen in the actual event compared with the drill. He asked the residents to take the drill seriously and keep in mind all the learning acquired during the drill.

The social welfare office, meanwhile, asked the residents to share all relevant information whenever asked by social workers when one becomes an internally displaced person (IDP).

“The data are important. We ask you to be patient with us whenever we have a lot of questions when we interviews IDPs in order for us to provide the appropriate help to the victims,” Lolita Bello, Maluso social welfare officer said.

Dionisio Mondejar of OCD thanked the participants and congratulated the barangay officials for the successful conduct of the drill. He further encouraged the local DRRMC to consider the gaps identified during the drill.

Moreover, the Philippine Information Agency in Basilan explained the need and value of disaster preparedness at personal and family level since possible responders and rescuers could not immediately provide assistance whenever disaster strikes in the community.

The tsunami drill was the first in Maluso. The activity was made possible through the Provincial DRRMC, LGU-Maluso, BLGU-Shipyard, and OCD-BASULTA with the support from MSWDO, BFP-ARMM, Red Cross, PIA-Basilan, the Philippine Army and the local police, among others.