“I wish we had these 10 years ago,” said Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez as he was peering through the over 60 technologies that could have saved them from Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).
The technologies for disaster risk prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery were exhibited at the Handa Pilipinas Visayas leg on November 8 that was held in Tacloban City, where the super typhoon particularly caused severe destruction.
Handa Pilipinas showcases Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM). It is an annual event conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
It coincides with the 10th-year commemoration of the super typhoon, to which President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., in his keynote message underscored “the importance of disaster risk reduction and management in the Philippines.”
Although the country didn’t have the technologies 10 years ago, the president said they are here now and recognized the role of the DOST in developing them which would be of great help to the local government units (LGUs).
“So, I implore everyone to maximize the use of these technologies [and] to fast-track the widespread adoption and commercialization,” Marcos urged.
Science Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr. highlighted that through science, technology and innovation, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and the Filipino bayanihan spirit, Filipinos will be “victors over disasters and not victims.”
Technologies in DRRM
The following are the technologies that were featured in the Handa Pilipinas Visayas leg.
Integrated Wireless Alarm System (IWAS)
Regional Director of DOST VIII Engr. Ernesto Granada shared with the BusinessMirror that one of the technologies developed and applied in the region was the “Integrated Wireless Alarm System [IWAS]” by Samar State University (SSU).
IWAS, meaning “go out” in Waray dialect, is an early detection of an upcoming disaster that gives a warning or an alarm signal. It provides real-time water monitoring, such as the water level variation and current flow which are considered prime sources of floods.
Users can easily access the water monitoring data by simply connecting their mobile phones through Bluetooth.
Project Leader Engr. Nikko Floretes said the project is currently deployed in Antiao River in Catbalogan City and they are planning to propose to DOST for the data to be transmitted through WiFi.
In times of emergency such as fire, medical, or accident, “GeoPindot” is a mobile phone application that enables citizens to seek emergency assistance and report an emergency situation.
Digital Transformation Officer Basti Colocar demonstrated the “Report” feature of the app and reported a fire accident. Within a few seconds, a response unit from an LGU called to confirm.
The app is developed by start-up OBXS IT Solutions and supported by the DOST-University of the Philippines Mindanao.
The “RxBox,” meanwhile, is a telemedicine device designed to provide life-saving health services in isolated and disadvantaged communities developed by the University of the Philippines.
It contains a sphygmomanometer, pulse oximeter, thermometer, cardiotocogram (CTG, with a maternal tocometer and fetal heart monitor), and electrocardiogram (ECG) in a single portable machine.
It also integrates eHealth technologies to strengthen health delivery systems and as an adjunct to an electronic medical records system to support primary-care physicians in remote rural municipalities.
Another life-saving invention is the award-winning “Hemostats” for bleeding control.
Hemostats are used to reduce or stop the bleeding of traumatic wounds during emergency cases or in incisions made during surgical procedures. It can also be used for first-aid management to stop or reduce bleeding.
The hemostats formed into granules are made of carboxymethyl cellulose derived from plants that are sterilized by radiation to safely modify natural and water-soluble polymers.
Once the granules are put into the open wound, they create a gel-blood clot that stops the bleeding. It does not damage the wound site or inflict a burning sensation and can be easily removed.
Pack of Hope (Ready-To-Eat relief foods)
During disaster response and recovery, the “Pack of Hope [Ready-To-Eat relief foods]” developed by DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), can be distributed to affected communities by land or sea surface, aerial drop up to 20 feet drop height and even submerged in water.
The Pack of Hope products are packed in easy-to-open and lightweight retort pouches. Its varieties include Chicken Arroz Caldo, Cassava in Syrup, Boiled Sweet Potato, Smoked Fish Rice Meal, Potato Carrot Soup, Chicken Corn Soup, and Ginisang Munggo.
Emergency Food Reserve
DOST-ITDI also innovated the “Emergency Food Reserve (EFR),” such as the high-energy food base Sagip Nutriflour made from pre-cooked cassava, sweet potato, mongo, and moringa
The flour can be an ingredient in bread, cookies, cakes, pastries, dishes, pudding, porridge, soup and others, and be used for community livelihood, food security, and nutrition feeding.
Other notable technologies in the exhibit are the Triaging Trailer Tent, Collapsible Toilet Bowl, Unsinkable Porta Boat and Water Ambulance, Emergency Disinfection System, and more.
Granada said the exhibits and technology forums offered an “enabling space” to transfer awareness knowledge and technical know-how of the diverse set of innovative solutions for LGUs and private institutions which they can adapt and utilize in their respective communities.
Image credits: DOST-8