BORONGAN CITY- Some 5,000 Arteche residents and emergency rescue teams (ERTs) joined the 4th quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) in Arteche town as the world marked Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5.
Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-8 Regional Director Henry Anthony Torres led the team from Tacloban City and some ERTs coming from Palapag, Northern Samar, Catbalogan and nearby towns like Dolores, Jipapad, Oras and DepEd personnel from other schools meaning to observe the drill.
Mayor Roland Evardone said that the drill is a big help to his people as Arteche town faces the vast Pacific Ocean, and is prone to tsunami.
At 8 a.m., the siren wailed off and as the public was instructed to ‘duck, cover and hold’ they obeyed so, and as the siren stopped, people rushed to their designated evacuation center with their emergency kits, the LGU had assigned five evacuation centers on higher grounds.
Maria Jenny Dagal, who owns a meat shop in town, showed her emergency kit with flashlight, biscuits, canned goods and a whistle.
“Kinahanglan an silbato kay bangin ako mawara, masilbato ako basi matad-an ak rescuers.” (I need the whistle to signal to rescuers that I am alive.)
Dagal said that her people were victims of Typhoon Ruby and that they are aware of disaster preparedness and get better each drill.
The NSED aims to test the efficiency and usefulness of the preparedness, response and recovery plans, systems and policies developed in various localities and offices.
In the aftermath, rescue of people injured, victims being ‘downloaded ‘ from second floor houses and the town hall were shown.
The covered gym became the incident command system, where Evardone serving as the incident commander was busy orchestrating the assessment and rescue efforts with ERTs along with Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Officer Natalio Operario, Jr.
In the evaluation, Eliot Lopez of Catbalogan City’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office suggested that Arteche acquire better equipment that can help rescue. He urged his counterpart to request the needed equipment.
Engr. Leonilo Jumagdao of the regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways urged the OCD to perform the drill in other areas until everyone in Eastern Visayas has practiced the drill.
Sgt. Edwin Madeja of the 8th Infantry Division was impressed that people were rushing to higher grounds on their own, that they did not need any prodding except the disaster to push them to the evacuation centers.
Director Torres said he was impressed with the outcome of the drill and that the LGU though needing some fine tuning in their disaster preparedness have noted all observations and will act on it as promised by their youthful Mayor Evardone. (PIA 8-EASTERN SAMAR)