Climaco leads disaster contingency planning PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 30 August 2014 11:46

Mayor Beng Climaco together with City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. concerned city department heads and humanitarian actors attended yesterday the Zamboanga City Contingency Planning Workshop at a local hotel.

Jointly organized by the city government and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the whole day activity was designed to prepare the city government and its officials for any eventualities.

Muktar Farah of OCHA explained that the workshop was conducted upon the behest of Mayor Climaco herself in a bid to develop a contingency plan in responding to natural disasters and otherwise.

“Contingency is basically being prepared for any eventualities in the family, in the community and the city as a whole. You must have a clear plan for action, it must be a living entity not just a document and to be regularly reviewed and developed,” he said.

“A peso spent on preparedness is much better than a ten-peso spent on response activities,” the OCHA official said.

In her brief message, Mayor Climaco thanked the OCHA and all other humanitarian actors and agencies of the UN for helping the city in responding to the humanitarian crisis that hit Zamboanga as a result of the siege last year.

“They are giving us a legacy of responding to the crisis,” she said even as she urged all the workshop participants “to take the activity seriously because in times of disaster the lives of our people are at stake.”

As expected of any workshops, the participants were divided into clusters, each assigned to specific scenario. Each cluster had to review response strategies, develop objectives and priority activities.

For purposes of discussion, the workshop had adopted the Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (ZCDRRMP) as a model for response strategies.

It was also clarified that humanitarian agencies can step in the crisis once the government of the affected country would say yes or make a request. The humanitarian assistance may end once the local authorities and agencies are able to manage and contend with the needs of the affected people.

The OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. It also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort.— Vic Larato