Aftermath: Why Should Pinoys Bother With Science?

The Mind Museum’s Cafe Scientifique Presents: Why should Pinoys bother with Science?

Patterns don’t lie. That’s one of the crucial points emphasized by an esteemed panel of scientists during last week’s Cafe Scientifique, titled, “Why Should Pinoys bother with Science?” Many curious individuals attended the discussion and participated actively during the forum. Guests also helped themselves to free coffee during the talk. The discussion lasted from 4-6 in the afternoon, with a lot of eager minds awaiting a chance to ask their questions to the experts.

Among the important points raised was the significance of Contingency Planning in Disaster Management. During Typhoon Yolanda’s hit, when public advisory of relocation was done, it should have also been noted that location is not the only thing of utmost priority but also the durability of the facilities for evacuation.

Another points the panel emphasized was the need for Disaster Imagination. It has been difficult to get people to understand the extent of damage that the storm surge and the typhoon could cause if they cannot visualize it. Without any form of visualization by the community, there will be no subsequent action. Surprisingly, a representative from Project NOAH defends that they were able to predict the storm surge, including the height of the wave. They relayed the infographic to the government for further information dissemination to the communities. Rather unfortunate is that the people from the affected communities were unable to completely take in what a storm surge is. The representative said that they explained the concept of the storm surge to the communities “Filipino”. The individuals from the affected areas are Bisaya, for Christsake.

A good point raised by one of the guests was probably the problem with the way the information was relayed. Yes, everyone is doing their jobs, but no one seemed to check whether the ordinary folks from the affected communities actually understood and imagined the full power of the storm surge, a phenomenon that has never happened to them in this lifetime.

Dr. Solidum of the Phivolcs also explained that people act based on past experiences. But since none of the individuals in the affected area has actually experienced a storm that strong, it was difficult to get people to prepare and respond appropriately to the disaster. “This is where learning from your own mistakes is not applicable. We have to learn from the mistakes of others, instead.” -HANA

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