Sunday, March 2, 2014

When Disasters Strikes (Earthquakes, Floods, Fire and others)

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It’s been a few months since we have seen and experience number of natural disasters, man-made catastrophes and armed conflict from the second half of 2013. From Typhoons like Santi, Labuyo, Maring, Zamboanga Rebellion, 7.2 magnitude earthquake of Bohol and Cebu Islands and lastly the Super typhoon of Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan). These incidents have made a great impact and consciousness in the minds of many to prepare for any disasters in the near future or unforeseen circumstances. In one statement of Dr. Marqueza Reyes of Earthquake and Mega-cities Initiative during an interview at ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel) that the "Typhoon Yolanda will be benchmark for disaster preparedness in the years to come" if there will any more Category 5 storms coming in the archipelago. 

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In recent years, storm has become increasingly become stronger and rainfall has tremendously increased since climate change has exhibited itself. Recently, we have seen on the images of Super Typhoon Yolanda's destructive power on the ground that concrete utility posts where torn down, large trees were slumped and uprooted, cargo ships ran aground inland and so do wooden housing structures are completely washed away or collapsed with the 15 to 20 feet storm surge brought by its deadly howler with winds of 315 kilometer per hour. Some of the old infrastructures were totally battered and can no longer withstand the wrath of Mother Nature. A lot of our kababayans were displaced with the force majeure. The death toll Super typhoon Yolanda has to 6,000 mark and almost 30,000 were injured and nearly 2,000 people missing. Storm surge has become the “byword” after the post-Haiyan tragedy among Filipinos.

Are we prepared for these unforeseen events?

Most Filipinos are not or ill-prepared on these event  but anyone can prepare in an unlikely event from fires, earthquake or even in accidents. A lot of useful information or resources can be found on books, media and internet on what to do on any situations. Attending oneself to seminars, trainings and workshops is very useful and enriching especially in experiencing a simulation or a drill of this during a workplace or school workshop. An example of this is the brief presentations of basic first aid, earthquake and fire drills conducted by Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Red Cross or other private agencies on medium to large companies, communities and schools.  

Do you have the right tools, equipments or the "bug-out bag"?

Survival experts have different recommendations depending on how to survive in dire situations. Most of them would require you to stack up your bug-out bag with basic survival essentials such as food, water, clothing, communications (extra mobile phones / two way radios) and emergency funds (cash) in case of experiencing a disaster in life which is good for three (3) days. Other personal information, such as passports, medical record, insurance policies and others are important during and after recovery.

Are you and loved ones protected?

Do you have the necessary life insurance and health insurance in case you get injured or hurt or worst comes to worst lose your life or your loved one in the process. Although, the economy and population are growing this does not translate in the demand of insurances with only 1.1% of the Filipinos are insured according to Philam Life study in 2012. However, 81% of Filipinos have social health insurance provided by Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) as this agency claimed in their 2013 report. These insurances are essential for everyone who intend to secure themselves. Life and Health insurance are designed to provide a benefit in the event of loss of life, accident, illnesses etc).

Are your properties protected?

Do you the non-life insurances such as fire, earthquake and flood insurances for your automobile or your home? Non-life insurances provide payments depending on the loss from a particular financial event. This type of policy is also known as general insurance, or property and casualty insurance. Non-life insurances are available among insurance services providers.

Have you planned your exit strategy

Responsible people somehow must take initiative to educate and protect themselves and loved ones and their properties from disasters. They must take charge in order to prevent, prepare or lessen the damage or loss in these types of scenarios.


Mr. Benedict Baluyut, is a certified real estate professional (PRC Real Estate Broker) a regular member of Registered Financial Planner - Philippines. He writes from time to time with Registered Financial Planner Column at Business Mirror and MoneySense, a Personal Finance Magazine in the Philippines. Catch him on Facebook page Pinoymoneyvantage | Follow me on Twitter | Add on Google+ or visit his official blog at

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