A drill that no one wanted to happen

Posted by cybermagic | 7/28/2006 11:31:00 AM

Aurora folk pass tsunami test; E. Visayas LGUs not ready
By Tonette Orejas, Joey A. Gabieta
Published on Page A17 of the July 28, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- SOME 1,500 residents in Baler, Aurora scored “above average” points in disaster preparedness during a tsunami drill last week, the second to be held in the country’s eastern seaboard, according to the chief of the Office of the Civil Defense in Central Luzon.

“Those who joined the exercise were really aware of the threat and what to do when the event strikes. They demonstrated a high level of cooperation,” said Neri Amparo, OCD regional director.

Amparo said residents of Sitio Castillo in Barangay Sabang and Sitio Munting Gusang, Puntian, Cemento, Digisit and Ylaya in Barangay Zabali joined the drill on Saturday. These villages face the Pacific Ocean.

The first drill was held in Sitio Pinagbuhatan in Sto. Domingo, Albay, on May 17.

The villagers began an orderly evacuation when the church bell and the kolong-kolong (an empty acetylene iron tank) were struck at 3 a.m. to announce an impending tsunami, said Danilo Nieva, chief of the provincial disaster coordinating council in Aurora.

Taking along basic kitchen wares, some food and clothes, they trekked to Ermita Hill (Point Baja), which stood 50 meters above sea level, Nieva said.

Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo said the retreat to Ermita Hill was a lesson from the past. This was where Franciscan missionary Jose de San Rafael ran for safety during the Dec. 27, 1735 tsunami, the friar’s accounts showed.

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