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PIA Press Release

NDCC implements community-based tsunami early warning system for Leyte

Tacloban City (September 21) -- Two barangays in the province of Leyte have been identified as pilot barangays in the implementation of the tsunami based early warning system activities particularly the conduct of tsunami preparedness lectures and tsunami drills.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council through the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Region 8 and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology under the Department of Science and Technology, have chosen and have scheduled a tsunami drill at Barangay San Roque in the municipality of Tolosa on September 26. The other tsunami drill will be conducted at Barangay Bulak in the municipality of Abuyog on September 28.

Members of the media are encouraged to cover the conduct of the drills in order to add value to this activity's objective of increasing public awareness, Director Estudillo said.

The tsunami community based early warning system is a component activity of the "Hazards Mapping and Assessment for Effective Community Based Disaster Risk Management," READY project, Director Salvador Estudillo of the Office of Civil Defense in the Region informed.

The project READY has three components, the multi-hazard identification and disaster risk assessment; community based disaster preparedness; and mainstreaming risk reduction into the local development and planning process.

Director Estudillo said that a community-based approach in tsunami disaster preparedness is very important because local tsunamis are sudden onset events and communities should be trained to recognize natural signs of tsunamis. These natural signs, he said are felt earthquake, sudden rise or fall of sea level and unusual sound from the sea.

Local tsunamis may strike a few minutes after a strong earthquake and it is important that coastal communities know what to do and where to go. Due to short lead time, there could be no ample warning emanating from the national agencies. Instead, communities should be trained to recognize natural signs and perform correct precautionary and evacuation procedures.

Regular tsunami drills are encouraged to be conducted regularly for residents to be familiar with evacuation procedures, so that during times of emergencies, panic will be avoided, Director Estudillo continued.

Director Estudillo informed that preparatory activities related to the tsunami community based early warning system and drill include tsunami hazard mapping, teaching community residents and leaders how to recognize the signs of tsunami, co-developing with the local government units their tsunami community evacuation plans and installation of tsunami signages translated in the local dialect.

Aside from the tsunami drills, an information, education and communication campaign for school teachers will be conducted on September 25. Teachers are also being targeted so that they can impart the important tsunami information, especially the natural warning signs, to the students. The children will be the backbone of tsunami informed citizenry in the future, Director Estudillo stressed.

The READY Project is being implemented by the NDCC through the collaborative effort of the Office of Civil Defense, PHILVOLCS-DOST, Pagasa-DOST, NAMRIA-DENR and MGB-DENR.

The Province of Leyte is one of the 27 provinces in the country where PEADY activities will be conducted from 2006 - 2010. The Project is being funded by the Australian Agency for International Development through the United Nations Development Programme. (PIA 8) [top]

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