Risk running riskier
Scampering in panic showed how unprepared are government officials to lead their constituents to safety in times of disaster. The strong earthquake that hit the region bared the lack of efficiency of disaster risk reduction management councils that government had established in the various local government units. Amid the chaos brought about by the earthquake, people were groping for proper information from authorities so that they can take appropriate action to ensure their safety. But the warnings came too late and in general terms, giving warning for people to just get ready for any eventuality after the strong quake.
Even without government warning, people would take safety measures that they would deem necessary to protect their lives and properties. The natural tendency of people to look for higher grounds prevailed upon many people, as they took safety measures without waiting for warnings. Unfortunately, the trooping to higher grounds was undertaken mostly upon what is known as “mass suggestion” where people follow wherever the masses are going.
There is clearly a need for government to identify safe places for evacuation in cases of calamities. Every type of calamity must have a particular response and the people must be well aware on what they ought to do in case any kind of calamity occurs. We cannot live with leaving lives to chances or guess work where people are driven to wherever the masses may take while running for safety in panic.
Thus far, disaster risk reduction was far from being operational as people were left ill-advised with guess predictions of what may happen during and after the earthquake. In the urgency to find safety, people never realized if they went too far to riskier places than where they left. Now is the time for government to strengthen its efforts to save lives and properties by information and education that would empower people to save themselves during calamities.
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