Friday, 17 July 2015

MMDA asks owners of funeral homes to ready body bags, Philippines prepare for disaster

With the “Big One” likely to cause 35,000 deaths, owners of funeral parlors are not only being asked to participate in the “Metro Manila Shake Drill” but also prepare to provide cadaver bags.

The exercise to be conducted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is scheduled on July 30 to prepare residents for what the Philippine Volcanology Commission says is a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that is due to hit the capital anytime.

In a news briefing on Thursday, MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino urged members of the Philippine Mortuary Association (PMA) to participate in the disaster simulation as well as to extend their services should the worse happen.

Public service not business

Urging morticians and funeral parlors to view this as a public service and not as a business, Tolentino requested each member of the 400-strong PMA to provide 500 cadaver bags.

He said operators of mortuaries had an important role to play in times of disasters, such as taking care of the dead and the prevention of the outbreak of epidemics.

“We need to establish definite roles for every sector involved in disaster preparedness and management as each and everyone should be ready to provide necessary services to the public in times of disaster,” Tolentino said.

The MMDA has projected 35,000 deaths in case of a massive earthquake, with Manila and Quezon City expected to have the most number of casualties.

Mass burial site identified

Earlier, the MMDA identified an area in Macapagal Boulevard as the designated mass burial site during the earthquake simulation. The MMDA and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) are set to sign a memorandum of agreement with the PMA on Monday on disaster preparedness and response.

The deal includes the training of at least five of the MMDA’s personnel in embalming with the help of the PMA and the Department of Health. In turn, the MMDA and NDRRMC will provide training in rescue operations for funeral parlor personnel and community coordination in their barangays in times of disaster.

For their services, Tolentino said the government would pay them back with the barangays (villages) expected to pay for the cadaver bags used in their respective areas.

Ready to help

According to PMA chair Renato Dychangco, the group was prepared to deploy personnel to assist in preserving and identifying the bodies in the event of a massive earthquake.

The Metro Manila Shake Drill, amid the ringing of alarm bells and audio recording of a rumbling earthquake, has been scheduled on July 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the capital region, except in Pasig City, where it will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Friday 17 July 2015


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