| Apr 15, 2019
Disaster Preparedness in the Philippines
The Philippines is located in the Typhoon Belt and the Ring of Fire in the Pacific, making the country highly exposed to various potential natural hazards, including typhoons, flooding, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
In the past months, IsraAID has responded to two such storms: Typhoon Mangkhut and Typhoon Usman, both of which required signifiant emergency support. IsraAID's team first began working in the Philippines following Typhoon Yolanda, which struck the Philippines in 2013, causing some 6,340 fatalities. An average of 20 typhoons threaten the Philippines on a yearly basis, and migration, overpopulation, and civil strife also pose a threat to stability. The Philippines is consistently ranked in the top ten most disaster-prone countries on the planet.
Over the years, IsraAID's team in the Philippines has trained local service providers in the Visayas, Luzon and Mindanao on psychosocial and mental health activities regarding trauma processing and building resilience, creating a cohort of emergency responders ready to deploy should support be needed. IsraAID’s PHirst Aid Program will answer to the immediate needs of people affected by disasters, especially vulnerable members of society, such as women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
After one training for this cohort was conducted in the Mindanao Region, participants from Bukidnon were inspired to share what they learned from our emergency response workshop. They wanted to reach out specifically to indigenous youth from remote communities, and recruit them to volunteer during times of emergency.
Mr. Rhondell Melendez Paraiso began to work toward this goal, conducting seminars on disaster preparedness and safety, and also led activities planting trees, and exposing them to native flora. Mr. Paraiso said this experience helped to link different communities around Mindanao, creating a network of individuals more invested in the preparedness and wellbeing of their communities.
“We are able to identify ourselves as a team and we recognize our skills which might be put to good use when the need arises,” Mr. Paraiso told us, stating that he was putting together a roster of first responders around Mindanao similar to the national list we are building in the Philippines.
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