Toral: Are you ready for disasters?

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

IN 2013, the Philippines was hit by 11 destructive typhoons with a total casualty count of 36,262 dead, injured or missing. Economic damage was projected to hit P99.9 billion.

This I learned last Monday at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Disaster Preparedness Forum with the youth as its primary audience. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas led the affair.

The event aimed to arm the youth with knowledge to make prepare them for disasters.


This included familiarity on flood early warning system: Yellow (flooding is possible), Orange (flooding is threatening hence be alert for possible evacuation), Red (serious flooding expected therefore evacuation is a must).

There was also a review on public storm warnings. Signal number 1 is for winds of 60 kph within 36 hours. Make sure gutters are clear from obstruction. Signal number 2 is winds of 61 kph to 100 kph within 24 hours. Anything that can be swept by the wind should be tied tightly.

Put hollow blocks on roof if necessary. Signal 3 is winds of 101 kph to 185 kph in 18 hours. With Signal 3, it is best to stay at home and evacuate if your place has a history of flooding.

One application that all of us must install is Project Noah ( or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazard Project.

The application gives information on possible rains within 48 to 72 hours. The app covers 144 cities throughout the country.

It is important for companies and households to be ready for disasters. Everyone must make sure to always have emergency supplies. People should also know the nearest evacuation centers or identify other options on their own.

We should also store important documents in waterproof containers and have a listing of emergency hotline numbers where family members, law enforcement and barangay contact are printed.

Every school and company must also have a disaster plan in case calamities strike. It is also best to know as well what your local government’s disaster plan is and be ready to avail yourself of it if needed.

If we are ready for disasters, we can have safer communities. In the process, we also save more lives.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 16, 2014.


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