The task of recovery after a disaster, whether natural or manmade, falls on every citizen and individual of a state or nation. This is especially true in cases where the disaster is of such magnitude and prevalence that it affects a great number of people and along wide swath of land.
What happened in Turkey which is one of the most devastating and deadliest earthquakes of this century is an eye opener of what can happen when the catastrophe is so great as to overwhelm and
render inadequate whatever government disaster mitigation response is implemented given the nature and scope of the calamity.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan already admitted of his government’s “shortcomings” in responding to the massive earthquake but also hit back against those he claimed had been making false accusations against the state’s response to advance their political interests. According to
reports at least 17,000 have already lost their lives because of the earthquake which was felt from as far as 500 kilometers from its epicenter in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. With this in mind and
turning our attention to the Philippines it again becomes necessary to reiterate that the effort to prevent or more probably mitigate any kind of disaster or calamity is to prepare and reinforce everybody, not only the government and its branches and instrumentalities, but the people themselves to be capable of withstanding or enduring and recovering quickly from such difficulties.

This is actually the very definition of resilience which is “capacity to withstand or to recover quickly
from difficulties”. In other words the toughness to withstand adversity. But to be tough or to be
resilient requires the need to be prepared and to be ready to withstand the difficulty in order to survive in the aftermath. Now here in the Philippines we have our various programs on disaster
preparedness as well as mitigation measures to overcome the difficulties posed by various disasters and calamities, notably typhoons and also earthquakes.

However, and this is just an observation, the disaster preparedness programs being implemented by the government leaves much to be desired where ordinary citizens are concerned. Yes this
disaster preparedness programs and measures are effectively being implemented in the government level as well as in the private sector but it has not really trickled down to the individual or family in the home. Perhaps what is needed at this time is to craft a plan or system that would include individual homes and families in the disaster preparedness or mitigation programs of the
government such that everybody and everyone is actually prepared to become resilient once disaster strikes.

As already suggested in previous columns perhaps the government can come up with a law or executive order that would make it mandatory for all households in the country to have emergency survival kits that would be tailor fit to the size and number of the individuals comprising the household, as well as to the type of disaster that would likely occur in that particular place or area. Also the government can come up with a law rendering mandatory the strategic placement and use of private heavy equipment such as bulldozers, cranes and payloaders in the event that a calamity will occur in the area or place where they are located.  It will be the obligation of those who own these heavy machinery and equipment to automatically allow their use by the government in the event of such disasters.

Finally, the government can also come up with a policy that will require all people in a particular community to be aware and constantly informed of whatever disaster preparedness or disaster mitigation programs and facilities are available in their area. They should not only know where the barangay hall or nearest police station is located but they should also know what type of emergency services are available and their location and availability of access in case the community is affected by a calamity. Resiliency is for everybody and everyone and the government can make this come true by encouraging families and their households to actively engage in disaster preparedness programs as well as equipping them with the necessary tools to enable these families and individuals to better confront and survive these difficulties.

Amianan Balita Ngayon