Unity amidst the storms and calami­ties

Palawan Daily News - - Editorial -

Philip­pines is the most ex­posed coun­try in the world to trop­i­cal storms, earth­quakes and other calami­ties. Ev­ery year, around 20 ty­phoons rav­age the coun­try, leav­ing hun­dreds and thou­sands of peo­ple los­ing their lives and their fam­i­lies, prop­er­ties and liveli­hood.

Ac­cord­ing to the Philip­pine At­mo­spheric Geo­phys­i­cal and Astro­nom­i­cal Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion (PAGASA), we will ex­pect five more ty­phoons be­fore the end of the year. This means, more high winds and more rains.

Last week, Ty­phoon Om­pong’s death toll reached 95 and at least 54 in­di­vid­u­als are still miss­ing. Most of the fa­tal­i­ties were from the Cordillera Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion, were land­slides oc­curred. The Na­tional Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment Coun­cil con­firmed that at least 1.4 mil­lion res­i­dents na­tion­wide have been af­fected by the ty­phoon.

In Novem­ber 2013, Su­per Ty­phoon Haiyan, lo­cally known as Ty­phoon Yolanda has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 peo­ple with more than a thou­sand miss­ing, af­fect­ing 3 mil­lion fam­i­lies. It dam­aged 1 mil­lion houses, and 40 bil­lion pe­sos worth of in­fra­struc­ture and agri­cul­ture prod­ucts. Greatly bat­tered were Ta­cloban City and nearby prov­inces as the ty­phoon moved west­ward af­fect­ing them ex­ces­sively.

Through the Philip­pine Gov­ern­ment’s thrusts and ini­tia­tives, a law was passed in 2010, to ad­dress the dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion. Known as the Philip­pine Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment (PDRRM) Act, RA 10121 is in­stru­men­tal in plan­ning, al­lo­cat­ing re­sources and man­ag­ing the ill ef­fects of calami­ties among the com­mu­nity mem­bers.

A year after that, the vi­sion was for­mu­lated by the NDDRM Coun­cil on at­tain­ing a “Safer, Adap­tive and dis­as­ter-re­silient Fil­ipino Com­mu­ni­ties to­wards sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment”.

Through the sup­port of our stake­hold­ers, es­pe­cially the lo­cal and na­tional gov­ern­ments, we could be more pre­pared in fac­ing these calami­ties. Pre­pared­ness, adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion should al­ways be the keys.

Ev­ery­body must be pre­pared to face any and all dis­as­ters and calami­ties. From hav­ing emer­gency kits to know­ing safe zones and de­vel­op­ing sur­vival skills.

We must adapt as to Cli­mate Change that is fore­cast to cre­ate su­per­ty­phoons. We must adapt, for ex­am­ple, by know­ing the geo­haz­ard maps and re­lo­cate if we see that our houses are in an area that is prone to land­slides or flood­ing or earth­quake. We must yield to sci­ence.

The chal­lenge is in­sur­mount­able, but we, Filipinos, have been used to these de­ba­cles that wreak havoc our coun­try more of­ten as we though it to be. In spite of all these, we are re­silient and are bonded by great unity amidst these catas­tro­phes.

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