Philippines urged to upskill disaster response teams


Posted at Mar 02 2023 01:56 PM

Courtesy of Dr. Ted Esguerra
Courtesy of Dr. Ted Esguerra

MANILA — Disaster response and preparedness expert Dr. Ted Esguerra on Thursday urged the Philippine government to enhance the skills of the country's disaster response teams.

This after he and 81 others returned to Manila on Tuesday night after a 2-week long mission in quake-hit Turkey.

"We showcased that we are also world-class humanitarian workers, and this is our time," he told ANC's "Rundown". "We just need to increase our logistics, enhance our training, and I'm very much willing to train them."

Esguerra identified "3 things" that the government should focus on in developing rescuers.

"We [need to] have... a dedicated team with configuration for international response," he said.

"We need to have a simulation and training on multi-hazard environment. We have to enhance the capacity, the individual Filipino to be ready," he added.

Esguerra said cold weather and language barrier were among the challenges they encountered in their operations.

The earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria killed more than 50,000 people, in a toll revised by AFP that included figures from both government and rebel-controlled parts of war-torn Syria.

At least 5,951 people were killed across Syria, while Turkey recorded 44,374 deaths after the Feb. 6 earthquake. The new tally brings to 50,325 the total number of deaths caused by the disaster across both countries.

According to the World Bank, the tremor caused damage worth more than $34 billion in Turkey.

The World Bank also estimates that 1.25 million people have been made temporarily homeless due to damage to residential buildings.

It added that direct damage to residential buildings accounted for 53 percent of the estimate, with 28 percent of damage seen in non-residential buildings and the rest in infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

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— With reports from Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse