An earthquake is like a thief in the night. It just comes quietly and when it does, it has the power to take away properties and worse, lives.
The Philippines is no stranger to earthquakes having five major fault lines. Remember the 7.7 magnitude Luzon earthquake that brought havoc in 1990? This resulted in a number of collapsed buildings, billions of damages, and left more than 2,000 people dead. Imagine how massive it was and the trauma it has impacted people.
After 32 long years, on July 27, 2022, a major earthquake that registered 7.0 magnitude struck Northern Philippines again. This time, the epicenter was in Abra.
The National National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center reports that as of July 29, six died, four are missing, and 136 are injured. Close 20,000 families composed of 79,260 persons have been affected. Damage to houses and infrastructures is now estimated at 48.3 million.
After the situation becomes stabilized, immediate help from the national and local governments, non-government organizations, and individuals was sent to the Abra earthquake survivors.
One of those who heeded the call is the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) located in San Fernando City, La Union.
Dr. Marvin Munar, manager of the disaster risk reduction and management in health of the ITRMC, said the hospital deployed 40 personnel as Health Emergency Response Team to Abra.
“The team is composed of Medical, Surgical and Ancillary including Public Health and Mental health and psychosocial support,” he said.
Despite some potential risks, the stand-alone teams braved their way to Abra a day after the powerful tremor happened. They were convoyed by ITRMC chief Dr. Eduardo M. Badua III and Munar.
The Team also brought with them a portable x-ray and two types two ambulances, one is for Advanced Cardiac Life Support for Critical Care while the other will cater to trauma patients.
“As of today, operational na po ‘yung sinet up na radiology area with portable x-ray after their Provincial Hospital was affected due to the earthquake,” Munar said Friday.
He shared that the teams are currently experiencing problems with connectivity, hence they cannot send the timely status of their accomplishments in the area. But one thing is for sure, the ITRMC ‘help teams’ are doing the best they can to provide medical assistance.
The earthquake, like any other disaster, could leave not only massive damage and casualties but also lessons about disaster readiness and care for humanity.
Indeed, the ITRMC’s work at ground zero is a reflection of its battle cry: Sillag ti Amianan (Moonbeam of the North), giving light to Abra after their darkest hour. (JCR/AMB/JNPD, PIA La Union)