Located in the Philippines’ Northern Cebu Province, Bogo City was one of the areas hardest hit by in November 2013 by Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda. With such deadly typhoons expected to increase in frequency and intensity amid climate change, facing the challenges they raise is set to become the new normal. It is widely accepted that no amount of preparedness can fully protect the population in such circumstances, despite massive efforts on pre-emptive evacuation, putting rescue teams on alert, prepositioning goods, activating emergency systems and coordinating with civil defence authorities. Haiyan revealed the need for individual families to be prepared for disasters.
The lessons learned last year spurred the creation of the Information Management in Preparation for Disasters Program (I.M. PrepareD), which aims to equip every family to prepare proactively, thereby enhancing their capacity to meet disasters head on. The goal is to make disaster preparedness everybody’s business by spreading what-to-do information across electronic and social media, radio broadcasts, printed material, and via family interaction activities. Other core components of I.M. PrepareD, which is coordinated by First Lt Ben Fredrick R. Rodriguez, include gathering local-level baseline data on families prone to hazards as well as crafting multi-hazard maps and conducting drills. Family disaster preparedness programmes have been rolled out in schools, given that changing the mindset of children is a key way to shift family attitudes from the reactive to the proactive. I.M. PrepareD is family-based, child, senior and PWD-friendly, gender and culture-sensitive; and takes a multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and macro-level approach.
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