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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 25, 2012


More must be done to educate people on disasters and climate change - RDRRMC

by Norito A. Cabotaje

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna, Jan. 25 (PIA) -- “ More must be done to educate people on disasters and climate change especially in communities at risk.”

These were words that Vicente F. Tomazar, Chairman of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC)-4A and regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-4A emphasized in the recently conducted DRRM meeting in Calabarzon.

These information on disasters and climate change are indispensable to make people understand the risk they run when they refuse to heed warnings and do not evacuate on time, he added.

He also said, we learned a lot of things from storm Sendong and these are the things that we need to attend to as council to avoid huge loss of life, homes and properties especially in identified risk areas in our region.

He reported that Tropical storm Sendong was the first powerful storm in decades that hit Cagayan de Oro, Iligan City and other areas in northern coast of Mindanao Island.

Accordingly, it brought an equivalent of one month’s rain, causing massive flooding and affecting 114,228 families in 804 barangays, 57 municipalities, 8 cities in the 13 provinces of regions Vl,Vll,lX,X,Xl, CARAGA and ARMM.

It was also reported that the number of population currently served inside and outside the evacuation center is 80,647 families or 429,095 persons. Also 1, 257 casualties, 4,658 injured, 98 missing and 441 survivors that were rescued.

A total of 13,369 houses were totally damaged, 35, 130 partially damaged and the estimated cost of damages to infrastructure, agriculture and school buildings amounted to Php. 1,384,592,708.00.

He related that in the storm’s wake, ordinary individuals, businesses and religious congregations have not left providing aid and comfort to the victims solely to government and aid organizations.

The people themselves have opened their homes to those who have lost everything. Observers say this lesson of personal selflessness is something for people in other countries to know as part of the character of the Filipino people, he said.

However, he discussed some observations as well as analysts say about mistakes made especially in the first few hours and days after the disaster which to them undoubtedly be examples of what not to do.

Some of these observations has something to do with food and non-food items, shortage of water supply particularly potable water in the evacuation centers, over- crowded evacuation centers and sanitation issues, health services, registration of informal displaced people, debris clean up, temporary shelter so it will not disrupt schooling and others. he said.

Tomazar also made mention of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino’s lll guidance such as to transfer military assets before 3-day warning whenever a typhoon will affect communities at risk; consider long-term mitigation measures to address siltation of rivers, mining and deforestation; identify high risk areas for human settlements and development and families be relocated into safe habitation; review disaster management protocols to include maintenance and transportation cost of these assests (air’ land and maritime); and need to come up with Crisis Manual for natural disaster.

Aware on the observations and actions taken in response to storm Sendong, Tomazar admitted that more must be done to address disaster risks and hazards especially in flood and landslide prone areas.

He stressed that more must be done like ensuring effective early warning systems especially at the stage when climate change is intensifying the impact of typhoons, making people understand the risk in order to heed or take notice to warnings, strengthening the capacity of local government units on risk reduction, emergency communication system shared by all government agencies and others.

He also cited private-public partnership as priorities to be done including institutionalization of disaster risk reduction offices (DRRMOs), structure of disaster risk reduction management councils (DRRMCs) and also plans and programs in the 4 committees on preparedness, response, prevention and mitigation as well as rehabilitation and recovery. (NAC, PIA-Calabarzon)

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