Featured image: riders with two types of motorcycle ambulances in Norway
(photo by Bjørn Bjelland)
In response to findings in the Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2015 – Disasters without Borders published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) last October 27, the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association (MDPPA) cites how motorcycles can provide critical mobility for fast and effective response to calamities.
With vulnerability measured in terms of susceptibility to calamities, as well as in the capacity of a nation for managing and mitigating the effects of such events, UN ESCAP’s flagship report asserts that the Philippines ranks first in Asia and third in the World among nations most vulnerable to disasters. The report adds that while government and medical services have key roles, efforts for building capacity and resilience in response systems should extend to all sectors that may contribute to disaster management.
For its part, MDPPA suggests that two-wheeled transport could provide critical mobility during and in the aftermath of disasters. Says MDPPA President Rodel Pablo: “When Nepal was hit by two major earthquakes within three weeks of each other, rescue and retrieval efforts were hampered by the rough terrain and landslides. We realized that, for the rescue and relief operations to be successful, response should be quick and reliable. Motorcycles can provide a flexible and efficient transport mechanism for first-line relief workers and for the delivery of medical aid and supplies.”
While motorcycles with no specialized modifications such as mission-specific sidecars can carry only two able-bodied riders, these can still function to get critical personnel and equipment in place for coordinated disaster response. “When communication in disaster-stricken areas proves to be difficult due to damaged infrastructure, motorcycles can initiate a makeshift communication mechanism,” Pablo said.
In particular, Pablo noted how riders affiliated with MDPPA had been involved in relief operations for Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Pablo recounts: “Twenty-eight riders … experienced the ravages of Yolanda during our Motorcycle Caravan for Road Safety in Tacloban City. From the first moments of the catastrophe to the aftermath and recovery, the riders helped in the disaster management by setting up communication lines for media outlets.”
The Caravan for Road Safety mentioned by Pablo is among the regular events organized by MDPPA, the nation’s premier organization of motorcycle manufacturers which counts Honda Philippines Inc., Kawasaki Motors Philippines Corporation, Suzuki Philippines Inc., Yamaha Motor Philippines Inc., and Kymco Philippines, Inc. among its members.