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Reflections

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

MANILA FLOODS: Disaster Survival Tips!

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the  country, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such a flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple provinces.
Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is on top of the list of countries in the world in terms of the occurrence of natural disasters, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction. 
Margareta Wahlstrom, who heads the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, said a total of 33 natural disasters ravaged various parts of the country last year that resulted in the death of scores of people and the destruction of millions of pesos worth of agricultural produce, infrastructure projects, and properties.
The worst disaster that hit the Philippines was typhoon “Sendong” (international code Washi) last December 17 in Mindanao where at least 1,430 individuals died.
Second to the Philippines was China with 21 recorded calamities in 2011, followed by the United States with 19, India and Indonesia both with 11, Mexico with 10, Guatemala and Japan with 7, Brazil 6, and finally Bangladesh, Nigeria, Peru, Thailand, Vietnam with 5 each.
According to Wahlstrom, Asia is still among the continents worst affected by disasters last year with 137 out of the 302, equivalent to 45 percent of the total figure. (From MB)
Time Photo
From www.ready.gov
What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared?
Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood.  Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future.  Flood risk isn't just based on history; it's also based on a number of factors including rainfall , topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes due to new construction and development.
Flood-hazard maps have been created to show the flood risk for your community, which helps determine the type offlood insurance coverage you will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding.  The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium.
In addition to having flood insurance, knowing following flood hazard terms will help you recognize and prepare for a flood.
To prepare for a flood, you should:
  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
  • Elevate the water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
  • Levees & Dams - Levees are designed to protect hold back a certain level of water. However, levees can and do fail; and when they fail, they can fail catastrophically. Weakening of levees over time, or as a result of weather events exceeding the levee’s level of support, can cause the levee to be overtopped or breached, thus increasing the chance for flooding. 
    Flash Floods - Flash floods are the #1 weather-related killer in the country since they can roll boulders, tear out trees, and destroy buildings and bridges. A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours, which is caused by intense rainfall from a thunderstorm or several thunderstorms. Flash floods can also occur from the collapse of a man-made structure or ice dam.
    New Development - Construction and development can change the natural drainage and create brand new flood risks. That's because new buildings, parking lots, and roads mean less land to absorb excess precipitation from heavy rains, hurricanes, and tropical storms.

Useful Numbers To Remember

Emergency services                             112 or 911
Police                                                  117 or 168
Police & Fire                                       757 or 116
Meralco                                               (632) 631-1111
Telecommunication
National Operator                               109
International Operator                        108
National Telecommunications Center (632) 926 7722
PLDT Disruption repair and service  173
Mobile Services
Sun Cellular                                        395-8000
Globe Handyphone                             730-1000
Smart                                                   (632) 8881111
Info Lines
Directory Assistance                           187 or 114
Tourist Hotline                                    (632) 524 1728; (632) 524-1660
Dept. of Tourism Assist Line              524
Airport
NAIA                                                  (632) 877- 0000/1109
Flight Information                              (632) 877-3327; (632) 8771-3544
Domestic Airport                                (632) 832-8566
Railway Station
DOTC                                                             (632) 727 1710
Philippine National Railways (632) 287-3062
Road & Transport
TRAFFIC                                           (632) 444-8399
NDRRMC                                          (632) 911-1406; (632) 911-1873; (632) 911-1906; (632) 911-5061; (632) 912-0984; (632) 912-2665; (632) 912-3046; (632) 912-5296; (632) 912-5668;  0917-7334256
Help hotlines:
(632) 734-2118; (632) 734-2120

Public safety text messages

from telcos:                                         1456
Bureau of Fire Protection, NCR         (632) 729-5166; (632) 410-6254; (632) 407-1230
Bureau of Fire Protection, Region III (Central Luzon)
Hotline                                                (045) 9634376
Philippine Coast Guard
(632) 527-6136; (632) 527-3877
Red Cross
143; (632) 911-1876; (632) 527-0000
MMDA                                               136; (632)  896-6000
Taguig emergency hotline                   1623
Meralco                                               16220;  (632) 631-1111; 0917-5592824; 0920-9292824
DZBB Super Radyo:
(632) 924-3022; (632) 924-3018; (632) 925-3680
MWSS                                                (632) 888-8244
DSWD                                                (632) 852-8081; (632) 951-7119
DTI (Price Monitoring)                       (632) 751-3330
Department of Education (DepEd)    (632) 638-4108
North Luzon Expressway                   (632) 580-8911
South Luzon Expressway       (632) 824-1924

LIFELINE KIT (The Red Cross)

The first 72 hours after a disaster is critical. Electricity, fuel, water, telephone or mobile lines may not be working. In addition, public safety services and private rescue teams may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis. Each person should be prepared to be self-reliant and able to survive for at least three days following a disaster.
To do so, you need to have your Red Cross Lifeline kit in order to survive. The Lifeline Kit is a portable kit or bag that contains the items one would require to survive for the first seventy-two hours when evacuating from a disaster. The focus is on evacuation survival rather than long-term survival. It is important that you will be able to distinguish the Lifeline Kit from a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kit should be checked every six months to make sure that goods nearing expiration are changed and that stored water is replaced to maintain its freshness and effectiveness.
Put together a Lifeline Kit before another disaster strikes. It should be practical that you can carry it with you if you ever need to evacuate your home. It is also important to prepare a kit for each member of your family who is able to carry one. Older children can prepare their own kits - this exercise will train your children to make disaster preparedness a way of life.
To start, let us go through the list below and start putting the kit together. Note: Contents may vary depending on individual and family needs or whatever is commercially available.


I. WATER


Normally, one can survive without food intake for 5 days as long as there is water intake. Prepare clean water in clean airtight containers for washing, drinking and cooking:
- 1 gallon (3.78 litres) per person per day [1 ltr for drinking and 3 ltrs for washing]
- Water purification supplies (One purification tablet can purify a liter of water. 1 tablet per person per day for water purification.)


II. FOOD


- Store only non-perishable food.
- You can put protein/granola bars, dried fruit, crackers, cereals, canned goods like tuna, beans, sausages, etc. (It is recommended to store easy-to-open cans.)
- In case of hypoglycemia, canned juice or hard sweet candies are recommended (not gum based or mint).
- Food should be sufficient for three days consumption of every family member.
- Disposable plates and utensils.


III. EMERGENCY TOOLS / GEAR


- Plastic laminated ID card for family member(s) with special concerns. Indicate name, address, phone, who to call in case of emergency, contact details, the condition of the bearer and special instructions on what to do in case seen unconscious (e.g. diabetic). For children who cannot speak, they must also wear the ID card (in case they are reported missing, anyone who will find them will be able to contact their parents).
- Emergency numbers to call (Red Cross Opcen, Red Cross Chapter, fire station, hospital, etc.)
- Red Cross 143 Emergency / Disaster Guide explaining what to do in various types of disasters. These should be thoroughly studied and understood before the actual disaster but must be kept for reference. (Teach all family members how to use it).
- Maps with indication of evacuation sites and routes
- Whistle (This is highly suggested, use a whistle that is loud and has a compass on it.)
- Flashlight with extra batteries (self-powered flashlight is suggested)
- Multi-purpose knife
- Matches or lighter and candles (Do not use matches or candles until you are certain there are no gas leaks. There are commercially available waterproof matches.)
- AM radio transistor with extra batteries or self-powered (You need to monitor the news continuously to know the weather condition and any possible threats.)
- Glow sticks
- Plastic sheeting or garbage bag (For floor mats, cover items so as not to get wet, or use as a rain coat.)
- Heating blankets (thin, easy to carry and warm)
- Ropes (avoid nylon)
- Sleeping bag


IV. PERSONAL EFFECTS AND HYGIENE KIT


- Extra Clothing (Short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, etc.)
- Undergarments
- Antibacterial soap
- Toothbrushes
- Toothpaste
- Hand towels (super absorbent)
- Comb/ hair brush
- Hand sanitizer or alcohol
- Sanitary napkin


V. IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND MONEY


- Keep these in a plastic envelope.
- Money should be in the form of cash and loose change (in case banks are closed or electronic banking is not available.)
- Prepaid cards
- List of important information (security insurance number, tax identification number, driver's license, passport number, bank account details, insurance policy, etc.)
- Passport
- Important legal documents: Birth certificates, marriage contract, insurance certificates, land titles, etc.
- Other important documents: academic credentials, vaccination records, medical records, etc.


VI. SPECIAL NEEDS (Of elderly, children, infant or sick member of the family)


- Emergency medication (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, anti- diarrheal, for cough and colds, children's medication, etc.)
- Prescription Medication (for 3 days, like anti hypertensive, insulin, etc.)
- Children's food
VII. FIRST AID KIT (Standard)The risk of accident or emergency cannot be taken for granted. It is important to be prepared. Always have a first aid kit on hand. First Aid is a life saving skill. Once you know how to apply first aid correctly, you can help save lives. Call the Philippine Red Cross National Headquarters or the local Chapters for the following First Aid Kit items:
1 Adhesive Strips (Pk50)
1 Hypo - Allergenic medical tape 1.25cm x 9.1m
1 Conforming Bandage 5cm
1 Triangular Bandage 110cm x 110cm
1 Wound Dressing No. 15
2 Swabs Antiseptic
1 Tweezers metal 8cm
1 Scissors disposable
1 Safety pins – assorted (pk12)
1 Plastic Bags - resealable - 100 X 180 mm
1 Plastic Bags - resealable - 150 x 230 mm
2 Gloves - disposable
1 First Aid Quick Reference Guide