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School kids learn how to get ready for disasters    

By Rodolfo P. de Guzman, S&T Media Service

 

PASAY CITY, Manila - Just like in Japan where school children are taught early about disaster preparedness, the DOST also gathered up kids to talk about hazards as part of the 2017 National Science and Technology Week.

This remarkable event was made possible with the cooperation of different DOST agencies like the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA, the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS); Manila Boys Town in Parang, Marikina and the Department of Social Welfare and Development Center in Pasay City.

The event, the first of its kind in the country, had for its audience school children in grades 5 and 6 and those coming from low income families who are most vulnerable to natural hazards.

The kids were chosen by DOST-NRCP as part of its advocacy to promote the many technologies and research and development efforts being done by Filipino scientists and engineers in the field of disaster risk management.

Also, the research council partnered with PAGASA, PHIVOLCS, and PNRI because it believes that the NSTW is a perfect venue for these kids from poor communities with less opportunities to learn and experience the many benefits of science, technology, and innovation in improving their lives.

Dr. Vicente B. Malano, PAGASA administrator, opened the session by informing the audience of the many programs being implemented by the DOST and its attached agencies to minimize the risks of natural hazards. This is also part of the information dissemination and education program of the DOST in order to equip communities with basic science-based knowledge on the effects of strong typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and others.

DOST Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr. stressed onthe importance of knowing the different meteorological and geological hazards and the importance of preparing for these.

"Naalala nyo ba noong nagkaroon ng lindol sa Ormoc nung Huwebes ng hapon,at yung bagyong Yolanda na maraming namatay? Bakit kaya namamatay ang mga tao? Sinasabi ko na marami namatay kasi hindi sila handa. (Do you remember the earthquake in Ormoc last Thursday afternoon, and typhoon Yolanda when many people died? Why did they die? I’m telling you, they died because they were not prepared)," said Dr. Solidum.

Senior weather specialist of PAGASA, Sharon Juliet M. Arruejo, discussed how clouds are formed, the different types of clouds, rain, thunderstorm, and other facts about weather. Later, Arruejo, using a pet bottle with rubber suction, showed a simple experiment to help the kids visualize how clouds are formed.

After having fun while learning the basic information on typhoon and flood, the kids got to discover the different types of geological hazards like earthquake, tsunami, ground rupture, ground shaking, and liquefaction. PHIVOLCS Science Research Specialist Daniel Buhay invited three kids to join him on stage to demonstrate the "duck, cover and hold" exercise, a simple preparedness technique to survive an earthquake.

Later, Carl M. Nohay and Joseph R. Tugo of the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute discussed a lesser known hazard called radiation. They talked about the different types of radiation, its negative and positive effects, and hazards and preventionon exposure to radiation. They also had a live demonstration on radiation detection using state-of-the art equipment. As add on, Tina Cerbolles of the Information Office of DOST-PNRI talked about the different knowledge products and services that the institute offers in its main facility in Quezon City that benefit many sectors of society like business and industry, medicine, food processing, and agriculture.

The 2017 NSTW will run until Saturday, July 15, 2017 with more exhibits, forums and seminars being held at the World Trade Center and the Philippine Trade Training Center. For more information, please log on at www.2017nstw.dost.gov.ph or www.science.ph.