Rescue units from Manila to help ‘Lawin’ victims
The Daily Tribune | By: Pat C. Santos | October 21, 2016
With Manila relatively spared from the wrath of supertyphoon “Lawin,” Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is readying the city’s well-trained rescue units to help in the rescue and relief efforts in typhoon-hit provinces in northern Luzon.
Estrada said he had alerted the search-and-rescue (SAR) teams of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) for possible deployment in either Cagayan, Isabela or Ilocos Norte, or wherever their services are mostly needed. “We are fortunate that ‘Lawin’ did no damage to Manila. But we should think of those who bore the brunt of the typhoon’s fury and they need help,” the Manila mayor said.
Estrada added the city government is presently coordinating with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (NDRRMC) and other government agencies and relief organizations to determine how Manila could help in the relief and rehabilitation efforts, if there are any.
MDRRMO head Johnny Yu said they had already advised Estrada that their SAR teams have been on standby alert for immediate deployment anywhere in the country. “We are ready. We are just waiting for the Mayor’s go-signal. All our equipment and gears have been primed up and packed,” Yu pointed out.
He said MDRRMO has two 15-man rescue units: water search and urban search teams that have been well-trained and equipped to handle SAR operations in most difficult conditions.
The MDRRMO rescuers are also veterans of typhoon “Yolanda” rescue and relief mission in Tacloban City back in 2013, Yu added.
“We’ve been to Tacloban, Bicol region, Mindanao, and in many provinces in Luzon, helping in SAR operations and rehabilitation efforts during times of calamities,” Yu said.
Estrada earlier had placed MDRRMO on full alert for typhoons “Karen” and Lawin.
The city hall-based MDRRMO has 15 regular rescuers but it has in its disposal a pool of 900 accredited rescue volunteers, 500 Army rescuers, hundreds of fire volunteers and 120 members of the Manila Community Emergency Response Teams.
Disaster readiness and resiliency is one of Estrada’s priority programs. He has poured in over P600 million for continuous disaster risk reduction and response capability building at the grassroots level.