"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Public reminded to be prepared for disasters as typhoons hit the country

The public must remain alert and always prepare for disasters as typhoons hit the country one after the other, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today said.

Gordon said that the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), which he chairs, has already conducted relief operations in areas in Mindanao affected by Tropical Storm "Jolina", and has mobilized its Red Cross 143 volunteers to assist victims and monitor the situation in their respective barangays as Typhoon "Kiko" continues to affect the country.

Initially, the PNRC chapters in Mindanao have provided hot meals to 3,847 persons in Cotabato, supplied food relief items to 127 families in General Santos City, and conducted emergency rescue to families from flooded areas to evacuation centers.

"The Red Cross is committed to alleviate human suffering. We are always first, always ready, and always there to serve the people. At the same time, it is also our commitment to uplift human dignity, and so we ask the public to always be alert and be prepared so they can already help themselves and their neighbors especially during times of disasters," Gordon said.

The senator reiterated the need for disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to end the cycle of disaster that continues to haunt the country.

Gordon is a co-author of Senate Bill No. 3086, the Philippine Disaster Risk Management Act of 2009, which mainly aims to establish disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to decrease disaster vulnerability, increase capability for recovery, and enhance over-all resilience to calamities.

"We are poor because we have not learned from our disasters. We need to have disaster mitigation measures so we can easily organize local officials, volunteers and the public in times of calamities," Gordon said.

The PNRC under Gordon's leadership has created the Red Cross 143, which is a group of volunteers in every barangay who will serve as the eyes, ears, hands and feet of the Red Cross in every community.

The duties of the members of the Red Cross 143 include: (1) Predict possible threats in the community; (2) Plan what to do in times of disasters; (3) Prepare the community for what it would need; (4) Practice or conduct first aid trainings and emergency evacuation drills; (5) Report instantly to the Red Cross pertinent information about the disaster; and (6) Respond immediately to those in need.

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