Samar island town trains residents on disaster preparedness

Jazmin Bonifacio
Samar island town trains residents on disaster preparedness
Learning from its experience during Super Typhoon Yolanda, the town of Sto Nino now wants its residents prepared for the next big disaster

SAMAR, Philippines – Learning from their experience during Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the small island town of Sto Niño, Samar organized disaster preparedness trainings for residents to prepare families for future calamities that could hit the island.

In November 2013, Yolanda battered Sto Niño, and without any preparedness measures, families faced the turbulent waves and wind.

This is why Sto Niño’s Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office’s (DRRMO) asked its responders and rescuers to provide residents with training for emergencies. The plan involves 3 steps: making a kit, making a plan, and staying informed.

“This training effort will better prepare them to safeguard their own families and possibly their neighbors,” MDRRMO chief Sabino Branzuela told Rappler.

Aside from this, residents are constantly reminded by their barangay officials to always prepare and take time to review their emergency plans.

Tools for preparedness

The local government started equipping its barangays with tools and resources to prepare for emergencies and for them to respond and to return as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions in case a typhoon hits.

The town’s 13 coastal barangays were given free kits, which include generator sets, batteries, life jackets, face masks, food bars, water bottles, and first aid kit and other necessities needed for emergencies.

Warning systems are now in place for any kind of disasters like typhoons and floods. Evacuation sites are now prepared with supplies, including clean water and medicines.

“We really cannot predict when disasters will strike. And that’s (why) we are encouraging our residents here to get ready. It is important that all those families living in our 13 coastal barangays know how to stay safe and be ready in the island before disasters come,” Municipal mayor Lilia Conejos told Rappler.

According to Conejos, Yolanda provided a clear warning to the island. “The typhoon gives us lessons to become more proactive in coping with natural risks, and this makes our community more resilient.”

Sto Niño is located in the Samar Sea, about 24 kilometers south-west of Calbayog City in the main island of Samar. The town is about 18 kilometers north-west of Maripipi, Biliran province. –

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