Barangay Base Radio, and Disaster Communications

The Barangay Hall received this base radio and two handheld radios as donations recently. The Barangay Chairperson, who is the highest level of authority in the barangay governing unit, has primary access to the radio. In a disaster, she is responsible for staying at the Barangay Hall to receive updates from the City Mayor, City Disaster Risk Reduction Director, local fire station and police station. She then must ensure this information is passed down a communication chain of barangay leadership so that all 3,000+ residents of the barangay are efficiently updated on whether they will need to evacuate. Barangay Kagawads (or Barangay Councilors) each visit 2-3 puroks (neighborhoods) within the barangay to announce updates via megaphone, and also interface with purok leaders and residents to ensure their questions are answered and evacuation needs are met. This last leg of disaster communication can get tricky because it depends on physical travel when the roads will likely be filled with evacuees. For this reason, the Barangay Chairperson has put in a request from aid agencies for a siren, which would quickly alert residents to the need for evacuation. #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #research #disaster #communication #radio #technology #resilience #vulnerability #risk #typhoon #bagyo #kalamidad #supertyphoonyolanda #supertyphoon #storm #stormsurge #tsunami #tidalwave #drr #governance

A post shared by Shelley Tuazon Guyton (@bendingbookshelf) on Apr 22, 2017 at 9:32pm PDT

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Communicating Earthquake Preparedness

Communicating earthquake preparedness. This Earthquake Preparedness Guide is painted on a building located at a busy crossroads of a Tacloban City neighborhood. From left to right, the pictures describe what to do before, during and after an earthquake. The guide, however, neglects to address the differential experience of coastal residents, who additionally prepare for the possibility of a tsunami after an earthquake. Some coastal residents I’ve spoken to are equally as nervous about their safety in an earthquake as in a typhoon. Both events could trigger a sudden rush of seawater onto coastal areas. These are differentially referred to as a “storm surge” during a typhoon, and a “tsunami” during an earthquake—a storm surge arrives as a rapid elevation in sea level, while a tsunami arrives as immense sea waves. Talking with the Monitoring Group member of a village’s DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) committee, I learn that through media and communications, it is possible to monitor the area’s danger to a potential storm surge even a few days in advance. He says, however, it is more difficult to monitor the area’s danger to a tsunami. I asked what they would do if a earthquake happened in the ocean nearby. He said that he and the HOA (Home Owners Association) President would rotate watching the ocean overnight to see whether the tide moves far out from the coast–a sign that a tsunami is coming. #vignette #ethnography #anthropology #inthefield #fieldnotes #research #disaster #kalamidad #risk #vulnerability #communication #media #communicationinfrastructure #earthquake #tsunami #tidalwave #stormsurge #disastercommunication #disasterpreparedness #DRR #disastermitigation #philippines #pilipinas #pinas #QuakePH #ReliefPH

A post shared by Shelley Tuazon Guyton (@bendingbookshelf) on Apr 13, 2017 at 2:15am PDT

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Foreignness

These are two thoughts I am working on to express my experience here in the Philippines.   I started writing these in response to submission theme of bawal, which means “forbidden” in Filipino.  The U.S.-based journal intended this topic for creative reflection on the Filipino-American experience, but I thought my experience settling into the Philippines as a Filipino-American could be a permissible twist.

1.

A videoke ballad crashes over the plantation; it gels into the night.  Sound fills the heavy wet spaces between the palms, rests on the broad leaves.

The videoke pauses between songs, and insects descend again upon the canopy.  A warring ebb and flow above.  The ripple of the insect, and the flood of a drunken human noise.  All sounds here are unnatural and ring like strange news, atemporal and unintelligible.

There’s a mystery of what pulls into the palm shadows overhead.  Hovers there in this country that I am supposed to know.  A frond bends, exposing the thrush of an alien moon against the waning sky.  I feel I am being watched.

2.

Packets tuck into each other, obscuring their strange brand names.  A woman behind the counter either waits for my order or waits for me to concede her territory, her face as blank as the smooth faces of the pandesal stacked in the display case.

I say a word in the language I’m supposed to know.  The misbent letters of my tongue dissappear into some world that falls between me and her.

A pan of fish it seems are following into that dry atmosphere.  Laying elegant in silver, suspended in school mid-flight, opaque eyes.