“Zero casualty pa rin po ang layunin nating lahat,” (Zero casualty remains as a goal for all of us), states Presidential Communications Operation Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. during an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan during the wake of Typhoon Egay. Sec Coloma’s response encapsulates the intent of every Filipino of having zero casualties. One that was successfully achieved as Egay passed through the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) with no record of deaths.
Severe Tropical Storm Egay (International name: Linfa) hit the Philippines from 02 to 07 July with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph causing massive damages including flooding and landslides in Regions I, IV-B, and CAR, totalling a damage cost of PhP 214,652,999.17 and affecting 13,280 families.
Typhoon Egay first manifested as a Tropical Depression and developed into to a Tropical Storm at 11:10 PM of 02 July . It continued to move northwest toward Northern Luzon as it intensified and accelerated at 13 kph. It was downgraded to a Severe Tropical Storm as it made landfall in Palanan, Isabela on 4 July, 11 PM. Egay stayed inside PAR for 5 days, exiting on 07 July.
Despite the massive damages, the zero-casualty goal was made possible by the coordinated efforts of various government agencies and local government units (LGUs), which included disaster preparedness, monitoring, relief and rescue operations, and information dissemination. In support of the efforts of government, The Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH) served as a leading source of timely, reliable, and near real time weather data and hazard information. Hazard information was widely disseminated during the storm, ensuring that stakeholders and the public can have access to the tools that will help keep them and their communities safe. These were regularly released through social media sites and disseminated to key officials in both the national and local government levels.
“We have to credit the awareness of our people on what the different disaster councils were able to put in place in order to ensure the disaster resilience up to the grassroots level. We need to sustain our momentum and be consistent in our plans in order to achieve zero casualties in future calamities that will hit the region,” as stressed by Cordillera office of the Office of Civil Defense regional director and Cordillera Region Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Chairman Andrew Alex Uy as he attributed the synchronized action taken by all concerned line agencies and local government units (LGUs) for the zero-casualty success. Uy credited the success to the timely information dissemination by the disaster councils and LGUs who played a vital role in informing the public regarding responsive actions during the height of Typhoon Egay.
— Pau Bacani and Jv Manglicmot