NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama
NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama.

CATARMAN, Northern Samar, — Failure to carry out preemptive evacuation in different municipalities in Northern Samar has resulted in several casualties, the head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

Typhoon Nona, which hit Northern Samar last December 14 left 13 casualties.

NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama said the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has always targeted zero casualty during previous disasters.

Based on OCD statistics for Northern Samar, those preemptively evacuated were just 743 as compared to other regions, which carried out massive preemptive evacuations.

Other regions evacuated more than 700,000 people during calamities, according to Pama.

The statistics also showed that the number of evacuees swelled to 12,700 after the typhoon, which means people move out of danger areas after or during the typhoon.

“Sa susunod ay magtulungan tayo. Preemptive evacuation is very, very important. The statistics will bear us out on this kaya magtulungan na lang po tayo,” Pama told the local chief executives during a briefing with President Aquino.

“Tuloy-tuloy po kaming magkikipagtulungan, nandito kami we will provide all the necessary support that you will need sa pag -recover ng Northern Samar.”

Also, DILG Secretary Mel Sarmiento insisted that mayors should take the DILG’s Listo check list seriously.

Listo or Operation Listo is a disaster preparedness program of the DILG mainly focused on typhoons. It seeks to highlight the importance of preparing for calamities.

Chiefs of police should be carrying out the preemptive evacuation based on the recommendation of local chief executives, he said.

In Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, the volume of landslide tripled than that of Compostela Valley but there were no casualties because local officials followed the check list, he said.

In August this year, more than 20 miners died in a landslide in Benguet because the chief of police did not know preemptive evacuation, Sarmiento said.

Before assumption, he said that Police chiefs must study on how to respond to disasters. Leadership by the local chief executives also play an important role in saving lives, he said.

Mobilization by LGUs must be simulated regularly, and municipal mayors must also be guided by Project NOAH, he added.

President Aquino went to Catarman on Wednesday to assess the damage of Typhoon Nona and led the relief efforts in Northern Samar. (PCOO)