7 February 2012
MANILA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has hosted a large-scale simulation exercise, using the latest technology for recreating realistic scenarios, as part of its support for improving disaster preparedness and response in the Philippines
The simulation, held in Clark, Pampanga with funding support from the Government of Australia (AusAID), focused on how different levels of government interacted in an emergency situation, with particular emphasis on coordination, communication, information management, contingency planning and standard operating procedures.
“The tremendous human tragedy caused by Tropical Storm Sendong has again highlighted how essential it is for us to work together to improve our disaster preparedness and response efforts,” said Undersecretary Benito T. Ramos, NDRRMC Executive Director, who spoke at the simulation. “The exercise is an excellent tool to strengthen information flows as well as inter-agency communication and coordination. It also raises awareness among participants, and I am confident that it helps improve emergency response in the country.”
More than 100 people took part - including governors and mayors from highly disaster-prone provinces, representatives from various government departments such as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Health (DoH), as well as various humanitarian non-government organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies.
The simulation was based on a scenario in which two typhoons strike Luzon within five days of each other, recreating a complex humanitarian disaster situation. Those taking part in the simulation have to respond to a stream of information and take appropriate actions as if responding in a real-life situation.
“The Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world, as this week’s earthquake has again reminded us. That is why WFP strongly supports the government’s pro-active approach focusing on preparedness which is essential to reduce and mitigate disaster risks,” said Stephen L. Anderson, WFP Country Director and Representative. “Lessons learned from this simulation exercise will help improve the government's emergency response and preparedness capacities.”
The simulation exercise is part of a larger WFP Philippines Disaster Preparedness and Response project funded by the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). It was held in partnership with the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).
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