Manila City officials, disaster risk reduction officers and Manila residents participated in a simulated flood and storm surge drill conducted last July 19 in Baseco, Tondo by PAGASA, an agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Tondo, which is near the mouth of Manila Bay, is vulnerable to storm surges.

During the drill, different typhoon scenarios were played up by PAGASA to equip the various communities with the necessary tools to prepare for flood and storm surge events, and thus minimize human casualties and damage to properties.

Communication protocols were established by barangay officials and residents. Life boats, rescue fire trucks and ambulances were likewise provided to help simulate rescue and evacuation activities.

“The role of science and technology is important not only in improving life but also in safeguarding life. This was stressed by President Benigno S. Aquino after Typhoon Sendong devastated Cagayan de Oro in 2011 and Yolanda. Science should be put to work to save lives. That is the order of President Aquino to DOST,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo who was present during the activity.

Montejo further stressed the need for residents to heighten their awareness of hydromet hazards and embrace a culture of safety by communicating the hazards brought about by floods and storm surges from members of the family to the whole community.

The drill was followed by an evaluation activity where it was stressed that preparedness must include effective communication tools like signals and warning systems and  logistics like rescue equipment that are working.

“During evacuation all must be reminded to have their emergency bags ready at all times where basic provisions like food and medicine are kept,” reminded MDRRMO Operations Officer Alan Toledo.

Previously, PAGASA conducted an information and education campaign (IEC) on floods and storm surges at the Palma Hall of Manila City Hall with the theme“Ligtas and Handa, Kaya ng Pinoy”.

PAGASA experts briefed participants on the different hydromet hazards, the PAGASA modified public storm warning system which includes storm signal number 5, rainfall and storm surge warning systems, and the flood forecasting and warning system.

The flood and storm surge drill and IEC are among the activities organized by PAGASA as a ramp-up to DOST’s upcoming National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) from July 24 to 28, 2015 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.  For more on NSTW, log on to www.nstw.dost.gov.ph and www.science.ph. Admission is free.  #nstw2015    #dostph   (S&T Media Service)