THE Cebu City Disaster Coordinating Council (CCDCC) is ready to respond to any catastrophe such as an earthquake that might hit the city following Saturday?s strong tremor which devastated Chile, killing hundreds and triggering tsunami warnings in Latin America and Asia.
?We?ve been having earthquake drills in every school and we have also identified every evacuation center in case such emergency would hit Cebu City,? Councilor Gerardo Carillio, CCDCC chairman, said.
Carillio also assured that Cebuanos know how to respond to earthquakes due to the continuing information dissemination in the city.
In December 2009, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council ? Region in Central Visayas (RDCC-7) led the 4th quarter nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill participated by CCDCC and other stakeholders in the region.
The first nationwide earthquake drill in the Philippines was held on June 20, 2009 pursuant to the instruction of President Macapagal-Arroyo that earthquake drills should be conducted in the country on a quarterly basis or every 3 months.
The CCDCC continues to monitor the areas identified as most vulnerable to earthquakes such as mountain barangays where the grounds are not stable.
Even with the tsunami warning in the Philippines already lifted, CCDCC reminds residents along coastal areas to be alert, to monitor the sea conditions and prepare contingency plans in the event of an emergency.
?Duna na tay mga barangays nga gi monitor. Gani, nanghatag na man ta ug mga life vests sa atong mga barangay officials and in case kinahanglanun gyud, they will distribute it to their constituents (We have identified some barangays. In fact, we have already given life vests to barangay officials for distribution if the need arises),Carillo explained.
Carillo also added that rescue boats the city government had purchased were already on standby in case some areas would be flooded.
?All we ask from our brothers and sisters is not to panic in cases of emergency and directly coordinate with local authorities and CCDCC,? said Carillio.
The city also wants shorelines to be cleared of houses and residents by at least three meters.
The Cebu City Coastal Management Board head Vice Mayor Michael Rama is hopeful the board can get funds to implement the plan to clear the three-meter area of the coastlines of Cebu City and transfer residents to safer areas.
?If well funded lang gyud ang CMB, ato na gyung ma clear ang atong baybayun and transfer our brothers and sisters 3 meters away from the shore(If only the CMB is well funded, we can clear the shorelines and transfer our brothers and sisters 3 meters away from the shore), ? Rama told CEBU DAILY NEWS.
He said this was the plan that the board has been fighting for ever since.
Rama expressed his dismay over the late implementation of the plan.
?We shouldn?t have been talking about this anymore. This should have been implemented a long time ago. We should not wait for a calamity to strike before we implement this plan,? Rama stressed.
He was also thankful that Cebu was not covered by the tsunami warning issued to provinces facing the Pacific Ocean but added it should not be a reason to be complacent.
Neil Sanchez of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council told CEBU DAILY NEWS they were focusing on the eastern seaboard and Mindanao areas and not so much in Cebu which was not listed in the tsunami alert.