Empowering community members as first responders

More than 4800 families or about 24,000 individuals in Tudela, Misamis Occidental will benefit from the training of 37 community-based rescuers on basic emergency response.

“These are rescuers coming from the eight flood-prone barangay. Of the 24,000, there are about 4,600 children who are most vulnerable in times of disasters,” shares World Vision staff Gria Galemba.

Tudela as a disaster-ready town

Tudela is vulnerable to flooding due to the decreasing forest cover in the mountains. Families in the low-lying areas and those in coastal villages usually take the brunt. After the 2012 flooding that rendered hundreds of families rendered homeless, the local government unit (LGU) has strengthened its disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) initiatives. While it worked in the first years, the impact of flooding got more expensive and the changing climate demanded for a more decentralized initiative.

“In the past years, the Tudela Search and Rescue Team (TSART) provided significant support not only in rescue but also in disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness efforts. However, the need to capacitate the barangay DRR council was reinforced when there was a growing dependency on the municipal government,” shared Chila Dagondon of the MDRRMO.

This prompted the government to purposively help BDRRMC to organize and equip their own barangay rescue team in partnership with local stakeholders, including World Vision.

17-year old Eljier, a World Vision sponsored child shares, “The training enhanced our skills as youth rescuer. We are now equipped with training on basic life support. We can share this with other members of barangay council and in our school but more than anything, we can help our families and other children in times of emergencies.”

Aside from empowering the government at the community level, DRRM was also included in the barangays’ annual investment plan to ensure that activities such as basic rescue training are sustained. The municipal government, on the other hand, has committed to capacitate all its other 33 barangays by including the activity in their annual budget.

“The partnership of the MDRRMO and World Vision is an advantage. It is an affirmation that LGU is not alone in the journey of helping vulnerable people and communities. The counter-parting of resources, which encourages ownership among partners, is evident in this project. We are moving towards one goal– a safer, disaster-resilient, and climate-change adaptive Tudela, giving focus on the well-being of children and their families,” added Dagondon.

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