“Disaster imagination” – this technique enables communities to formulate their strategies and implement disaster preparedness protocols that will ensure safety for communities. Coined and introduced by Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., disaster imagination refers to the idea of imagining or visualizing the possible effects of hazards such as earthquakes in different locations. Solidum is the director of the Department of Science and Technology – Phivolcs.

In his talk on End-to-end Multi-hazards Warning Systems and Risk Reduction for Geological Hazards, Dr. Solidum said that disaster imagination is one of the key elements in disaster preparedness.

The talk was part of the seminar on disaster preparedness dubbed Disaster Summit: How Prepared Are We? on July 27, 2016 at the PHIVOLCS Auditorium in UP Diliman, Quezon City during the celebration of the National Science and Technology Week.

In addition, Dr. Solidum also discussed PHIVOLCS’s 12-point checklist titled “How Safe Is My House?” for the structural integrity of concrete hollow block houses during earthquakes.

Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena stressed the importance of using science-based knowledge and tools in creating community-based disaster risk reduction and management plans and programs to ensure the safety of hazard-prone communities.

“It is important that our communities, especially those highly vulnerable to floods or earthquake to always be prepared and community leaders must recognize the hazards in their localities and use appropriate science-based tools like Project NOAH and multi-hazard maps that the DOST has developed and implemented,” said Secretary de la Pena.

Meanwhile, PAGASA Deputy Administrator for Operations and Administration Services Dr. Landrico U. Dalida, Jr. talked about the PAGASA Early Warning Systems (EWS) which had been revised after Typhoon Yolanda where the maximum winds were more than 220 kph. EWS now includes Public Storm Warning Signal # 5.

The world is currently witnessing changing hazards like super typhoons such as Yolanda, which are intensifying year in and year out. To begin with, the Philippines is visited by more than 20 typhoons each year on top of the recurring El Nino which is becoming more severe.

Providing additional new insights on disaster preparedness were Teofilo Y. Garcia of DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute’s atomic research division, Dr. Regina Justina E. Estuar of the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center, and Dr. Joel S. Marciano, Jr., acting director of DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute.

Garcia presented scenarios to help disaster managers prepare for radiation accidents while Dr. Estuar talked about E-Bayanihan, a digital technology tool blending hard science with social science for faster disaster response. Marciano, on the other hand, introduced ROGER, an innovative emergency communication system for severe weather events when all communication systems may be down.

ROGER stands for Robust and Rapidly Deployable GSM Base Stations for Emergency Response.

Meanwhile, Director Edgar Allan B. Tabell, chief-DILG-Central Disaster Information Coordinating Center, introduced the program called LISTO which addresses disaster preparedness at three levels - the local government units, the community, and the family.

Also discussed were policy guidelines and protocols for faster disaster response and rehabilitation via talks delivered by Remedios S. Endencio, OIC-Director IV of NEDA-Regional Development Staff; and Felino O. Castro V, director of the DSWD-Disaster Response Assistance and Management. Dir. Castro also discussed the role of the national government from the point of view of the DSWD as well as the department’s plans and programs.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Vicente B. Malano, DOST-PAGASA acting administrator, also emphasized the empowerment of local government units, communities, and media which plays a critical role in educating the public, apart from the importance of science-based tools and knowledge.

The summit was attended by disaster managers and decision makers regarded as the first responders, from different LGUs in Metro Manila and nearby places. 

news disaster imagination key in preparing for disasters 08042016
Disaster Imagination. DOST-Phivolcs Director Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr. discusses the importance of “disaster imagination” in disaster preparedness to visualize the impact of geological hazards like earthquake, tsunami and landslide so that appropriate actions can be implemented by vulnerable communities. Dr. Solidum’s talk was held during the Disaster Summit conducted by the Department of Science and Technology as one of the activities of the National Science and Technology Week on July 27 at the PHIVOLCS Auditorium in Quezon City.

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