In line with the call for a metro-wide, synchronized earthquake drill last 30 July 2015, the employees of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) also participated in a talk on Disaster Preparedness in coordination with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
MWSS-RO Chief Regulator, Dr. Joel C. Yu, stressed that it is imperative for every employee to be prepared and equipped with the knowledge and skills in case a powerful tremor hits Metro Manila.
Jerome Casals, an independent consultant in the area of disaster risk reduction and management, was invited to give the lecture to heighten public awareness and increase response capacities among groups, communities, and households.
Casals said that disasters and development are correlated. “Disasters delay future development. We have to minimize disaster impact in order to maximize development.”
He continued, “Preparedness is a state of mind.” Identifying the HVCA or Hazard, Vulnerability, and Capacity Assessment is one of the tools in disaster risk reduction. Making a list of the HVCAs can be helpful not only in workplaces but also at homes.
At the household level, he urged the creation of a Family Disaster Plan that includes discussing the need to prepare, discussing types of disasters, sharing responsibilities, establishing meeting places, contacting each other, identifying best escape routes, planning to take care of persons/pets, and having a family contact out of town. It is important to have the emergency supply kits or the “go bags” ready and accessible at all times.
He also encouraged establishing linkages with government units and service providers as well as getting involved with community disaster preparedness programs.
Casals has worked with various national and local governments, international donor agencies, and non-government organizations including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, International Institute for Disaster Risk Management, Oxfam GB, and Action Against Hunger.