It has become more apparent, as events unfolded in the past months, that disaster preparedness does not only mean what to do when calamity strikes, but what measures are available for the community to somehow go on with their lives.
During the series of big quakes in the last quarter of the year, communities that were most affected moved to areas where they felt safer from the impact of the natural calamity. Some said that it was no different from their experience when they fled the conflict in their villages. Until now, some of them remain in the evacuation centers as their homes were confirmed no-build zones. We’re not sure what the plan is for them to rebuild their lives.
When news of the novel coronavirus broke out at the beginning of the year, we never thought we will be affected. After all, the SARS and MERS virus didn’t reach our country. To have one death due to the virus and many who were considered patients under investigation, threw us for a loop. Add to the mix the social media postings of misinformation on the virus – and mass hysteria was not far behind.
Then, over the weekend we had the African Swine Fever outbreak in Davao Occidental. Neighboring towns, including Davao City, immediately put up measures to stop the infestation by imposing bans and blockades. We found that these precautions came too late. Villages in the outskirts of the city were flagged by the Department of Agriculture as having the swine flu.
Culling or what is now called ‘depopulation’ of hogs had to be done. Farmers received some sort of indemnification for their great loss. The supply of pork has dwindled which we thought would drive up market price but consumers were not buying pork for fear of the virus so prices are said to be stable.
How do we pick up our lives and move stoically forward?
With the experiences that we had in facing disasters, we are ready to craft a plan that will allow institutions such as schools, hospitals and government offices to continue to function even during times of calamities. We have to move forward.