ORMOC CITY– Mayor Lucy Torres Gomez expressed her gratitude to the management of a shopping mall operating in the city for its cooperation in responding for a possible disaster that would strike the city.

Mayor Lucy Torres Gomez

On Thursday (Dec.7), Gomez, representing the city government, signed an agreement with the Robinsons Land Corporation for the establishment of a temporary evacuation site and a triage center located at the mall’s parking area.

“This partnership gives us assurance knowing that we are prepared and will survive should hard times come,” the city mayor said in her message after the signing of the agreement.

Under the agreement, the management of the shopping mall committed to designate 1,690 square meters of its parking lot for the setting up of temporary evacuation sites, a command center, and a triage area in the immediate aftermath of destructive calamity.

“We stand to support the development of the city in recognizing that disaster risk reduction and management is everyone’s responsibility,” Allan Anthony Armamento, operations director of the giant shopping mall, said.

A simulation exercise was conducted after the signing of the agreement participated by security personnel and a rescue team from the city government.

The simulation drill involved how to ‘rescue’ a bus carrying 34 student-athletes who attended a sports competition in Tacloban City and met a vehicular accident while it was on its way to Ormoc.

Responding to the accident, the rescue team has set up their command center at the parking space of the mall including tri-age, and medical response facility.

Meantime, Mayor Torres Gomez said that the city government is doing its best to address any possible disaster, especially cause by climate change, and secure the lives of its people, in particular.

“Here in Ormoc we will do all that we can, use all the resources that we have, with the skills set that we have, we will make sure that should the day come at least we know we won’t just surrender without given a fight,” she said.

One of the responses that the city government implement to protect its constituents against the effect of natural disasters and calamities is by ensuring that communities along danger zone are relocated in safer areas.

“We are in the process of identifying those who are located in the no-build zones and clearing up the no-build zones and then also making sure that they have resettlement areas,” Mayor Gomez added.

She also said a master plan identifying flood-prone areas across the city is now being conducted with the assistance of a Japanese entity with the output expected to be completed early this year.

Ormoc City has faced several natural calamities like the massive flooding in 1991 that killed at least 4,000 residents with about 2,500 reported missing, the super typhoon Yolanda in Nov 2013, and the magnitude 6.5 earthquake in July 2017.