Sunday, October 28, 2012
MANILA, October 29, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today challenged the government and all local communities to aim for zero casualty in the succeeding typhoons that will hit the country, noting that the recent Typhoon Ofel has left at least 27 people dead when it ravaged several provinces in the country.
Legarda, the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Asia-Pacific, said that the country is still expecting at least six more typhoons in the next two months.
“As we expect more typhoons that could be stronger and more devastating, our national and local action must promote disaster prevention with ‘zero tolerance’ as a mindset and approach. We must bring to an even heightened level and aim to have no casualties for the succeeding typhoons,” she stressed.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that in order to reduce the adverse effects of typhoons, concerned agencies both from the national and local governments should come up with disaster preparedness action plans, ensure that all canals and drainage systems are cleaned up and no families live in high-risk areas, release frequently updated advisories and ensure that areas expected to be affected are prepared--activate all forms of early warning systems, set up evacuation centers, evacuate families living in landslide-prone and flood-prone areas.
“All sectors must work together. The government must make our laws work and carry out programs that would improve disaster preparedness of every community. The private sector, on the other hand, must strengthen their business continuity plans, especially for hospitals and other lifelines, which are vital for post-disaster activities,” she explained.
“The public must be more aware of the disaster risks in their midst and do something to protect lives and property way ahead of any typhoon and other natural hazards,” she added.
The Senator noted that the government already has ongoing programs—National Greening Program, the Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) and the Geo-Hazard Mapping Project—that could very well make the country disaster-resilient.
Continuous protection of the environment is crucial in defending communities from disaster risks; the Geo-Hazard Mapping Project will ensure that homes and livelihoods are not placed in high-risk areas, as identified in the maps; while Project NOAH plays a crucial role in the dissemination of disaster risk warnings down to the barangay level.
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