Monday, March 3, 2014
Legarda: Invest in Safe, Resilient Schools
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today reiterated her call for both the government and the private sector to ensure that all schools in the country are safe from disasters.
Legarda, the UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the call as the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the Department of Education, and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda are set to launch “The Philippines as a Leader Country of the UN Global Programme on Safe Schools Towards the 2015 World Conference on DRR.”
“It is important to make our schools disaster-resilient to keep our children, who are most vulnerable to disasters, out of harm’s way when natural hazards strike. Aside from being a shelter for children, schools are critical public infrastructures, especially in times of disaster when victims need emergency refuge. Therefore, schools must be able to withstand earthquakes, typhoons and other natural hazards,” she said.
Legarda explained that the Safe Schools Campaign of the UNISDR is a global program that aims to encourage governments and communities to assess the safety of schools and build the resilience of these critical structures.
The program invites citizens to participate in the process of making schools disaster-resilient with the initial step of assessing the safety of schools in their communities not only in terms of ensuring the structural integrity of the buildings but also in making sure that students and school staff are prepared in the event a natural hazard occurs.
To facilitate the assessment of school safety in the country, an innovative online system for crowd-sourced hazard-and-risk mapping of schools will be introduced.
“Safe schools are essential to ensuring that our children are safe from disasters and injuries and thus beneficial to their general health and development. The government must fortify and enhance the structural integrity of public schools, while the private education sector should be encouraged to do the same,” Legarda said.
“Building the resilience of the education sector is a worthy investment. It brings the double benefit of saving lives and achieving our development goals,” she concluded.
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