Manila rescue teams on full alert for storm emergency

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Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has placed the city’s first responders in indefinite full alert as heavy rains brought by severe tropical storm Gorio continues to pound Metro Manila, which PAGASA forecasted to last until this weekend.

The mayor has reassured that the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDDRMO) is highly trained and fully equipped to handle all kinds of emergency.

“Our rescue and emergency units are on standby since the other day and when push comes to shove, they’ll rush anywhere in the city where they are desperately needed, come hell or high water,” he said.

Estrada has also activated and placed on standby alert the all-volunteer Manila Community Emergency Response Teams (MCERTs) established in each of the city’s 896 barangays that serve as first responders in the communities during calamities and disasters.

He said no evacuation is expected within the day as floods have subsided in most areas.

MDDRMO chief Johnny Yu said three 12-man teams are on a 24-hour alert – all experts in water and underwater search and rescue and hazardous material response.

All rescue and relief operations, Yu added, will be directed by an all-weather, highly mobile Incident Command van equipped with latest communication and monitoring equipment.