Early Warning Systems (EWS) equipment were officially turned over to the community members and barangay officials of Natonin and Barlig, Mt. Province last September 8 and 9, 2021.
EWS equipment include basic emergency and first aid equipment such as generators, spine boards with strap, two-way radios, amplifiers, public awareness devices, bells, rope, sets of BP apparatus, first aid kits, among others. All of which were identified by community members who were actively engaged in community risk assessments and contingency planning workshops conducted as part of the INCREASE: Increasing the Resilience to Natural Hazards project. Along with the equipment, household level flyers about the specific hazards in their community and the evacuation plan, and EWS signage containing warning signals and actions for community members were also handed over during the turn over ceremony.
In Barlig, barangay officials and representatives from INCREASE covered barangays, Kaleo, Chupac, Lunas, and Ogo-og, and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative were present during the turn-over ceremony. Female household heads who were the main participants of the Resilient Livelihood activities of INCREASE, also attended the ceremony and offered a song of appreciation to CARE Philippines and Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services representatives. In Natonin, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Officer along with Barangay Balangao and Alonugan officials and female household heads received the equipment and IEC materials.
EWS is an adaptive measure for climate change, using integrated communication systems to help communities prepare for hazardous climate-related events. This means that through EWS, community members receive relevant and timely information in a systematic way prior to a disaster in order to make informed decisions and take action. A successful EWS can save lives and livelihood. To be effective, EWS needs to actively involve the communities at risk, facilitate public education and awareness of risks, effectively disseminate messages and warnings and ensure there is constant state of preparedness.
During INCREASE workshops, risk information and the necessary equipment to relay warning signals were identified. This information was identified by the community members and barangay officials, and was documented and translated into IEC materials to make sure that warnings are understandable by all members of the community.
The need for EWS Equipment
“When Typhoon Rosita hit our area, we thought it was the end. The experience awakened our community. We exhausted every means to prepare for the next disaster. Thanks to INCREASE Project, we were able to identify early warning devices needed in our area to better respond to natural hazards,” shared Brgy. Balangao Chairperson Conrado Limangan, upon receiving the EWS equipment.
Recalling the worst typhoon in their memory, community members mentioned that since they had no equipment back then, members of the Barangay DRRM Council would only be shouting to instruct community members to evacuate their homes. Power and communication lines were interrupted then, hence they identified a generator as one of the main EWS equipment needed in their area. Natonin Municipal DRRM Officer Soledad Nasudman recognizes this and shared, “Thank you for bringing the project nearer to us. Even if the BDRRMC officials are capacitated, if equipment is not available, response and preparedness would not be as effective.”
Natonin and Barlig are both prone to typhoons and landslides. During their community risk assessments and contingency planning workshops, community members shared that they experience at least 3 to 4 typhoons in a year. One barangay was also named as the “Home of Rain” since rain is nonstop in the area for almost the whole year. While community members recognize the need for EWS equipment and IEC materials, they also acknowledge that they need to find a funding source for the purchase and installment of EWS. Barangay Chupac Chairperson, Benedicto Nabunat shared, “We express our deepest appreciation to the INCREASE team for the equipment because we know that our barangay’s budget can’t afford to provide these. We are thankful because it’s rare that a project reaches an isolated area like ours.” In addition to these equipment, risk maps plotting the community facilities, houses, forests, and farmlands, their level of susceptibility to several hazards that can affect them will be put up. To test the early actions and preparedness capacities of the officials and community members, a drill will also be conducted as part of the INCREASE Project.
INCREASE aims to increase the resilience of 45,000 women and men small-scale farmers and fishers, including 720 extreme poor female-headed households, to natural hazards and the effects of climate change. It is present in 4 provinces, 8 municipalities, and 33 barangays. CARE Philippines and CorDis RDS lead its implementation in Mt. Province.