Technology and Disasters

Technology had played a vital role in preparing the Filipinos for the third tropical cyclone to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this year. Telecommunications, through internet and short message service (SMS), were used to disseminate information and alert status during the typhoon Chedeng. Various websites and social media accounts of government agencies, public information officers (PIO) of the local government units, and other news networks posted updates on the typhoon warning signals and weather forecasts. The use of SMS, specifically, had been maximized as well by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (RDRRMCs) in the country by circulating advisories and other announcements. Through these, together with the lessons from their past encounters with disasters, the residents of the affected areas were able to prepare themselves for the calamity that they faced. Pre-emptive evacuations in the areas where TY Chedeng was expected to hit were conducted right after the announcement of the typhoon warning signals to prevent fatalities. The residents stayed in the safe areas recognized by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) until the advisories declaring that it was safe to go back to their homes. As a result, no casualties caused by TY Chedeng were reported.

Technology has been used in several ways by everyone. It has helped people simplify their daily chores. With everyone doing almost everything with the use of technology, it has become a part of people’s lives that it would be hard for them to go back to the old ways. Even in DRRM, technology had been very important. In the past, observing the environment was the widely used mode of knowing the weather. Keeping track of the changes in the ecosystem tells people how the weather will be in the coming days. Apart from this, televisions and radios have always been utilized as a way of receiving news about weather bulletins from different government and non-government agencies. But in modern times, where the use of a much modern technology is very rampant that almost everyone is seen using cellphones and in the social media, the said advancement can now be used even in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM).

In disaster preparedness, technology becomes a way for the people to acquire the information they need to know about the current weather and the disturbances that is about to come can now be presented right in front of them even through their smartphones. In addition to this, a number of NGOs and government agencies launched different programs that combine the social media and geohazard mapping to identify the areas affected by the different calamities and the help the civil society members need. These projects are considered as one of the greatest innovations of technology in the field of DRRM.

Hence, by means of technology, the procedures of DRRM have become easier and more effective as the projects bring together all the sectors of society – the government and its agencies, non-government organizations, and all of the citizens in the country. The said advancement has linked all the civil society members to one another by way of giving them the opportunity to be of help to everyone who needs assistance.

-Czarina Sambale Alviar

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