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Disaster Management Council: Take disaster prep seriously

A powerful earthquake devastates Surigao City

On February 11, 2017, Surigao Province was struck 6.7 magnitude earthquake.

Seven casualties have been reported by the Surigao City Disaster Council as of February 13, and 120 were reported injured. These numbers are expected to rise as more reports are confirmed.

Around 230 families were affected by the quake, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC)

At least 11 towns were affected by the quake, but Surigao City was hit the hardest. A state of calamity was declared in the city. The earthquake and its aftershocks have left an estimated P601.8 million in damage in their wake. At least a thousand houses were destroyed, and the government is now assessing how many families will be needing housing assistance.

Mina Marasigan, spokesperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), took the recent recent quake as a reminder that all Filipinos should take preparation seriously, because these disasters can happen anytime and anywhere.

“This is a time wherein we have to understand and realize we make it a part of our lives to be prepared for such eventualities,” she said. She urged people to sit down their families and discuss preparations, and to conduct regular exercises to the point of making disaster response muscle memory, citing the standard “duck, cover, and hold” SOP for when you find yourself in the middle of an earthquake.

The Philippines is a country located along what is called the Pacific Rim of Fire–an area surrounding the Pacific ocean vulnerable to seismic activity such as volcanic eruption and earthquakes.

The country is also the most affected by the effects of climate change on the weather, experiencing more than 20 storms yearly, some of which cause much more devastation than a typical earthquake.

The NDRRMC’s reminder must be taken to heart, not only by individual citizens, but by the government. As the 21st century progresses, the Philippines is prime for taking its place as a central hub for disaster response research and technology. This could only happen if the current and future governments heed the warnings and requests of our weather and disaster response agencies.