The Human side to Disaster Management

Typhoons affect lives in a myriad number of ways; there is the flooding, the destruction of houses and property, the sudden spike in cost of living. But on a more human element, there is the loss of livelihood, and the general psychological trauma that occurs post-typhoon. A few weeks ago, I attended an FDC forum on typhoon Yolanda, which spoke on these concerns. Yolanda not only devastated towns and cities within Visayas, among other places, but also changed the lives of the local residents, possibly permanently. What I learned was that, more than the economic capital and infrastructure, there is also a quality of livelihood which has been affected and which should be cultivated again, for a more wholesome healing.

During the forum, sir Jonathan Sale, from the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations, gave insight into the work done by public entities regarding the natural disaster. He gave information on the post-Yolanda labor situation of the area, noting the scarcity of jobs and rising incidents of poverty. The general labor mobility model he built causes us to consider whether the “voluntary” movement of workers may in fact be involuntary, thanks to the effects caused by the natural disaster. He also explained different types of government response, explaining how greater collaboration is connected with less turf wars and risk taking. Finally, there was a call to action; as an academic community we can give more resources and focus to the area, particularly assessment studies of the local jobs and opportunities.

My personal focus for my NSTP group was flooding; specifically, it was the structural techniques we can use to help alleviate flooding. But I learned here that there are other ways to help people too. There is a need to help comfort and support the victims of these natural disasters, and help them rebuild and move forward. They need to find employment and live a normal life again. Ultimately, whether you are a member of government, a student researcher, or simply a private individual, perhaps it would be a just cause to find long term ways to help rebuild a better tomorrow.

Brian Robles

2011-41567

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