Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has helped a thousand individuals so far, including 75 OB maternal and 20 post-surgery patients, in its swift relief and rescue response to the magnitude 5.6 and 6.0 earthquakes that shook Mabini, Batangas, and nearby towns at 3:07 p.m. and 3:09 p.m., respectively, on April 8, 2017, Saturday.
PRC was first on the scene and has since stepped up its relief and assistance efforts for yesterday’s twin disasters, as well as for affected population of the magnitude 5.5 earthquake that hit nearby Tingloy, Batangas, on April 4, Tuesday.
As of 12:00 noon on April 9, 2017, Sunday, PRC has done the following:
- Sheltered 110 individuals (75 OB maternal and 20 post-surgery patients from Batangas Medical Center, and 15 patients from Jesus of Nazareth Hospital)
- Assisted 75 other individuals
- Transported 5 patients (1 pregnant woman with abdominal contraction, 1 pregnant woman for caesarian section, 3 persons suffering from hyperventilation) from SM City Batangas to Jesus of Nazareth Hospital)
- Given psychosocial support to 250 individuals
- Welfare Services desk has assisted 4 individuals (1 each from Batangas Medical Center, St. Patrick Hospital, Jesus of Nazareth, Mabini General Hospital)
- Provided biscuits for 635 individuals
- Provided 1 ambulance to augment Mabini General Hospital for evacuation of admitted patients
- Prepositioned additional tarpaulins and food items for municipality of Mabini evacuees
- Set up 18 medical tents (6 – Batangas Medical Center, 6 – Jesus of Nazareth Hospital, 6 – St. Patrick’s Hospital), which have sheltered and catered to 110 patients
- Mobilized manpower of 41 (31 of which are PRC volunteers)
On Sunday, April 9, PRC continued providing Welfare Services (psychological first aid and psychosocial support) via its Welfare Services desk and First Aid stations. PRC Batangas Chapter also distributed hot meals (arroz caldo) for the people of Barangay Bagalangit in Mabini, mobilized two assessment and medical/welfare teams on Tingloy Island, as well as roving teams in Bauan General, Bejasa Doctors, and San Pascual Baylon hospitals. The local PRC chapter also has 349 blood products on standby.
“The earthquakes that recently hit Batangas have been unfortunate incidents,” said PRC Chairman Richard Gordon. “They have brought out the best in PRC’s staff and, most especially, our volunteers. We were first on the scene and our efforts have not let up since yesterday afternoon. These earthquakes have provided our volunteers and staff with additional on-the-spot training that augments our preparedness and calculated response efforts—which we call 4Ps: predict, plan, prepare, practice—for the Big One. Hopefully the Big One does not come, but if it does, PRC is ready.”
Judging from reactions on social media, the Batangas earthquakes have led the public to be more vigilant about the Big One, which the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) has said is long overdue. Said earthquake, estimated at magnitude 7.2, will supposedly be caused by movements in the West Valley Fault line, which traverses 10 cities and towns (roughly 57 subdivisions and villages) in the Metro Manila area.
“The Batangas earthquakes have increased public interest in learning more about earthquake preparedness and drills,” said PRC Secretary General Oscar Palabyab. “They have also brought to greater light the power of volunteerism.”
To further empower the public with knowledge and skills, PRC created its own Hazards App, which gives users warnings for different types of hazards—tsunamis, typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. The warnings are issued by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and are personalized according to area and even the people the user wants to keep tabs on during emergencies. It also offers tips on how to prepare lifeline kits, and what to do during and after specific types of hazards.
PRC Hazards App is available for free on the App Store and Google Playstore.
PRC Operations Center has been monitoring the situation since the earthquakes hit on the afternoon of April 8, 2017. For assistance requests, reports, and inquiries, people may contact PRC hotline 143 or 790-2300.
The ongoing relief efforts of PRC wouldn’t have been possible without its volunteers. For those who would like to be a PRC volunteer to help the organization with its relief and rescue missions, visit the PRC website at www.redcross.org.ph.