2017-03-27 00:00:00

QUEZON CITY-- As the lead agency in the national government's disaster response, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to strengthen its preparations for the 'Big One', referring to the predicted 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila to be generated by the West Valley Fault.

The Department has been regularly coordinating with other members of the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to discuss the plans and preparations for the earthquake and the devastation it can potentially wreak. It has also prepared predictive analytics for its humanitarian response, and this makes the agency better equipped to provide what the assistance Filipinos will need if and when the earthquake hits.

According to the analytics, the provinces that will experience the greatest impact in the event of the Big One include the National Capital Region (NCR), Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, Zambales, and Aurora. A total of 5,828,967 families from these regions will be affected.

In Metro Manila alone, a total of 2,570,188 families will experience the massive impact of the disaster. This number include 585,017 families in Quezon City; 351,615 in Manila City; 314,842 in Caloocan; and 160,683 in Taguig. An estimated 159,973 families will also be affected in Pasig; 49,513 in Navotas; 24,373 in San Juan; and 12,744 in Pateros.

The total number of affected families will require 5.8 million supply of family food packs (FFPs) worth P2,098,428,120.00 in the first two days alone.

"DSWD has handled disasters of huge magnitude and scope before, and we will tap the collective experience and strength of the entire agency to rise to the task of helping Filipinos should the Big One strike. As Vice-Chair of the NDRRMC, our duty is to capacitate local government units by providing them with augmentation support, along with disaster mitigation and response efforts," said DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo.

"With the threat of the 'Big One' looming, we are focused on improving our disaster response operations so we can prepare better to address its devastating effects. As all disasters are local in nature, our team, together with other members of the NDRRMC, are now making the rounds of communities to educate the different barangays on the steps they need to so that can be more prepared against the earthquake. We must strengthen the capabilities of communities and help to be more resilient," she said.

The DSWD, together with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has earlier conducted a simulation exercise to practice emergency logistics response during disasters. The event was held from February 27 to March 3, 2017 in Pampanga.

The simulation exercise, dubbed as FLEX or Field Logistics Emergency Exercise, was developed by WFP in partnership with DSWD, OCD, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). FLEX provides hands-on training in humanitarian logistics in a realistic learning environment.

To further strengthen its emergency response operations, the DSWD is also developing a Disaster Response Operation Manual with the help of Disaster Response Systems Development Advisor of the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ross Hardy. The manual will be based on the policies and guidelines of the country's National Disaster Response Plan.

The Department will also participate in the 2017 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) led by the NDRRMC and OCD on March 31. The NSED is an annual campaign seeking to promote disaster preparedness activities and increase the public's awareness on earthquake hazards.

Source: Philippines Information Agency

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