NDRRMC issues guide on rainy season preparations amid pandemic

Published June 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Saturday released a guidance on how to prepare for the rainy season amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which can be followed by its personnel and the general public.

National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MANILA BULLETIN)
National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MANILA BULLETIN)

This, after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) officially declared the start of the rainy season on Friday.

Around 20 typhoons enter the country during this season and the situation is expected to get harder with the current health crisis that the country is facing due to the pandemic.

As such, NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad issued a memorandum order advising member agencies and response clusters “to undertake risk-informed decision making using scientific data on the imminent risks in the country.”

Measures include the activation of the National Disaster Response Plan aligned with the resolutions and guidelines being released by the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) while the country remains under a general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

Also to be followed are the guidelines on risk-based public health standards for COVID-19 mitigation from the Department of Health (DOH), Jalad said.

He advised the conduct of Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) and other related meetings via online, inventory of resources, checking of vital facilities, stockpiling of relief, and other essential logistical requirements, as well as implementation of health protocols during duty at the Emergency Operations Center.

Meanwhile, local government units were urged to implement harmonized concepts indicated in their operations list manual as well as in the guidelines set by the DOH.

Jalad told local chief executives to maintain science and evidence-based decisions through PDRA, consult with warning agencies, and activate Emergency Operations Center, Incident Management Team, budget and logistical requirements for response.

The memorandum also advised LGUs to prepare for the impacts of the rainy season to vital facilities, increase their capability to stockpile food and non-food items, and explore incident management options that are aligned with the COVID-19 response operations.

They were also told to ensure the safety of responders during response efforts including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and maintain the implementation of other safety measures.

Moreover, LGUs were instructed to have an inventory of evacuation centers that are not listed as quarantine facilities and make a demographic profile of communities relative to COVID-19 evacuation plan.

They were also told to ensure physical distancing in evacuation centers, provide priority to vulnerable citizens, and administer proper distribution of relief goods by designating areas with safety markings.

Meanwhile, the memorandum advised the public to monitor weather news updates, warning and advisories; prepare a “go bag” that has food packs, clothes, whistle, flashlight, and other important emergency items; and continue to practice respiratory etiquette, sanitation, physical distancing, and wearing of face masks.

“Elderly, individuals with underlying conditions, persons with disabilities, children, and pregnant women are advised to stay at home and limit their travel,” Jalad said.

“However, when the need for preemptive evacuation arises, the said individuals must limit their exposure and contact to other people,” he added.

Jalad assured the public that the NDRRMC will continue to outline more appropriate mechanisms for recurring hazards as the country faces unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic and the rainy season.