When Disaster Strikes Hope and Humanity Prevail
Cover Story

When Disaster Strikes Hope and Humanity Prevail

Jun 24, 2024, 5:25 AM
Cheryl Luis True

Cheryl Luis True


ILOILO CITY — In the early hours of June 17, a devastating fire tore through Tanza Bonifacio and Rizal Estanzuela in the city, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. As the flames engulfed homes and displaced families, the immediate response from various emergency services proved crucial in averting further tragedy.

Promptly alerted at 2:15 am, the Iloilo City Bureau of Fire Protection swiftly escalated their efforts, with the blaze reaching alarming levels by 2:36 am, prompting a fourth alarm by 3:00 am. Despite the intensity, by 4:37 am, the fire was declared extinguished, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the BFP, alongside a plethora of response teams including USAR, ICPO, PSTMO, and many others.

No Lives Lost

Miraculously, no lives were lost, a testament to the efficiency and coordination among the responders. However, the toll on the community was stark: 39 homes were completely razed, 12 more were partially damaged, and 85 families found themselves suddenly homeless.

The aftermath saw a heartening display of solidarity and preparedness from the Iloilo City government and various volunteer organizations. The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) quickly set up an Emergency Operations Center, orchestrating relief efforts and disseminating crucial updates to ensure a streamlined response.

At the forefront of the relief operations were the Community Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), ensuring that displaced families received immediate aid.

Evacuation centers at Rizal Elementary School and Rizal Estanzuela Barangay Hall became sanctuaries, equipped with essential supplies ranging from food and hygiene kits to sleeping essentials.

The health and sanitation response was equally robust, with medical teams deployed onsite, offering everything from wound care to vital vaccinations.

The City Health Office diligently monitored the health status of evacuees, while also raising awareness about diseases like dengue and leptospirosis, crucial in the aftermath of such disasters.

Contributions Count

In times of crisis, every contributions count.

Local businesses like MORE Power not only provided logistical support but also ensured the safety of responders by isolating electrical lines. The Police and Public Safety Office maintained order, while the Public Information Office kept the public informed through social media and traditional news outlets.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, what shines through is the resilience of the community and the effectiveness of disaster preparedness measures.

The swift action and cooperation among agencies and volunteers alike underscored a community united in the face of adversity.

As we reflect on this incident, let it be a reminder of the importance of preparedness and mutual aid. Today, Iloilo City stands strong, thanks to the selfless efforts of its responders and the unwavering support of its citizens. Together, they have shown that even amidst disaster, hope and humanity prevail.

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