RDCC VI 'retraces' typhoon Frank's journey; learns lessons along the way
by ES Subong
Iloilo City (21 July) -- The members of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) VI retraced what they called the unprecedented journey of Typhoon Frank in Panay and Negros islands which left tremendous destruction to infrastructure, agriculture and livelihood, and population.
In an assessment workshop held July 19 and 20, the RDCC, through the facilitation of the training division of the Office of Civil Defense, Department of National Defense (OCD-DND) reviewed the chronology of events from Day 0 of typhoon Frank until it left Western Visayas.
Among the aspects which the participants looked into included Weather Forecasting of Typhoon Frank by Sr. Weather Specialist Roberto Sawi of the PAGASA, Flood Situation Analysis by Engr. Nilo Jardeleza, Communications and Warning System by Engr. Nestor Antonio Monroy of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), and the Damage Assessment by Civil Defense Director Rosario Cabrera.
PAGASA Weather Specialist Roberto Sawi said they have closely monitored the path taken by typhoon Frank from the time it was sighted until it entered the Philippine area of responsibility, as they do with other typhoons.
Sawi said they have continuously issued weather bulletins and storm signals to alert and warn the would-be affected areas until breakdown of communications on the part of hard-hit areas prevented them from doing so on a timely basis.
He said what intrigued them so was the fact that typhoon Frank did not move and remained static in northern Panay for five hours, pouring so much amount of rainfall, which triggered the heavy flooding, caused volumes of mudflows to hit rivers and infrastructures.
The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Councils (PDCCs) and some Deputized Disaster Officers, lamented the fact that because the local PAGASA has inadequate facilities and equipment, it was not able to update them of weather bulletins on time, hence, warnings were delayed because they have to connect to PAGASA central.
Engr. Monroy of the NTC said that despite the fact that flood waters covered the first floor of their office, he was able to continue communicating with the Ugnayan networks until he ran out of batteries for his mobile phones.
Monroy said that the chronology of contacts he received and sent out recorded in his cell phone, in the course of his monitoring, proved that there could had been an effective exchange of situationers and that the networks that included private communicators, crisis management centers were very active.
He added that the minute per minute, day to day accounts of the short messaging system during the wake of typhoon Frank, showed points of alarms where disaster preparedness and rescue responses could have been given immediately. (PIA) [top]