On Friday morning, April 15 2016, community members in Guinob-an Village were ready to run a typhoon simulation when the rain suddenly started to pour down. It got heavier and heavier and most of the village councillors were in doubt on if the drill could run, but they decided to keep the simulation plan running anyhow. Village captains took a lead in encircling the area and announcing a hazard warning. He used not only megaphones and an alarm, but also flags in designated colours to symbolise each phase of alertness. The flags were also used as agreed tools to help community member with hearing limitations to immediately respond to the announcements. Not only where most of Guinob-an Village community members involved but representatives from government institutions and related organisations from the municipal level also participated in this activity.
At the end of the activity, village councillors, community members and government representatives gathered to evaluate the drill process. They found out that there were misunderstandings regarding the hazard warnings which meant more socialisation is needed. Through the evaluation meeting, they also identified more effective ways to announce the hazard warnings. Village councillors who lead the coordination system also realized that they cannot work by themselves during emergency situations. Participations of other community members are needed to help the team. Moreover, village councillors identified the need for appropriate communication tools and committed to adjust their budget accordingly. Although some issues appeared during the process, the drill overall went smoothly.
The drill was arranged by the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) as part of their Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) project supported by Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) Indonesia and the Philippines, Philippines Community Resilience Programme. This programme is funded by Aktion Deutschland Hilft. Guinob-an Village was selected as one of the project sites due to the high typhoon hazard which threatens the community. This village was also one of the many severely affected areas when Typhoon Haiyan struck the country in 2013. Besides drill activities, community representatives and village councillors have also participated in a training series on basic disaster risk reduction (DRR) and participatory risk mapping. All activities implemented under this project are aimed to support community preparedness and resilience.
This activity proved to be a good example of how drills can be an effective way to review community preparedness in an emergency situation. Knowledge of what is lacking and what needs to be improved also means communities are coming closer to being resilient. Guinob-an Village also showed that drills are simple ways to engage community participation in reducing disaster risks. So stay alert, keep doing evacuation drill regularly! (Rizma Kristiana/edit: Annie Sloman)
Photo credit: Michael De Vera