Dinky on lessons from Sendong: info should be synchronized

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/18 February)– Among the many lessons from the tragedy that was Sendong is that information from various government agencies dealing with the disaster should be synchronized,  Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman told the Mindanao Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction and Geo-hazard Awareness here Saturday afternoon.

“We have to have a common information base,” she said.

Soliman spoke at the Summit after attending an inter-agency post-disaster needs assessment, where they discussed, among others, the need to “synchronize information.”

She noted that on the number of families affected alone, they had at least three sets of information: from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the City Social Welfare and Development Office, and the Department of Interior and Local Governments.

She said the DSWD based their figures on families inside evacuation centers, the city on those inside and outside evacuation centers and the DILG on those outside evacuation centers.

The information from the three agencies was consolidated in mid-January, Soliman said.

She said there must be information in three levels: preventive, actual and rehabilitation.

“We must have information in three levels, synchronized information, a common data base complementing the hazard knowledge here and who are vulnerable in what areas. That’s knowledge of the preventive aspect. For the actual disaster, we need to have a common information base,” she said.

In the post-disaster needs assessment she attended in  the morning, Soliman said a system should be set up at the regional level on having a common data base at the time of responding so that no one will be left behind or served twice.

“Synchronized information is key to management and coordination,” she said.

Soliman also pointed to the need for synchronized information on rehabilitation.

She cited  DSWD as the agency tasked with housing and resettlement but this it does in coordination with local government units and civil society. “It is important that we are able to share information and talk about how we are helping the victims,” she said.

In a statement released to the media during the first day of the Mindanao Summit, internally displaced persons (IDPs) appealed to government to come up with a clear plan for their relocation which the President promised when he visited Sendong survivors in December.

IDPs from Isla Baksan, Isla Bugnao, Isla Delta 2, Isla Delta 1, Isla de Oro, Tambo, and Cala-cala, which have been declared as no-build zones by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said they need assurance from government on their relocation.

Several IDPs  whose houses were swept away by the floods are living in “tent cities” while others whose  houses were damaged but not washed away are still awaiting placement in “tent cities.”

But even the “tent cities” have not been a refuge for flood survivors. At least 30 of 250 families residing inTent City 2  “Kalubihan” Phase 3 in Calaanan, Barangay Canitoan in
fled to higher grounds evening of February 13 when water rose to almost knee-level in their tents. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)