PH towns better prepared vs floods - Oxfam
MANILA, Philippines – Preparation spelled a crucial difference between the recent monsoon rain that flooded Luzon and tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana), which also inundated parts of the Philippines in 2009, an international aid organization said Saturday, August 11.
In a statement, Oxfam took notice of a few municipalities that had already prepared for a “worst-case scenario” months before the monsoon rain that killed over 60 people. “This has saved lives and minimized the impact of an otherwise deadly disaster,” the non-government organization (NGO) said.
Oxfam cited Cainta and Angono in Rizal, and Sta Cruz in Laguna. The NGO said these towns, which were among the hardest hit by Ondoy, had worked with the government and NGOs to boost their preparedness for disaster.
These towns conducted preparedness training workshops, drafted contingency plans, set up early warning systems, and beefed up rescue and food relief provisions, Oxfam said.
The NGO cited the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act that was passed in early 2010, or months after Ondoy.
“This law reflected a paradigm shift where the government invests in building people’s resilience to disaster instead of merely responding to calamities. In particular, calamity funds may now be used to prepare for disasters instead of only releasing them once an emergency occurs,” Oxfam said.
These areas' preparation “paid off,” it added, noting the low number of casualties in these places, as well as the swift and orderly implementation of relief and evacuation plans.
“Community preparedness to disasters is key in warding off loss of lives and damages to properties in times of a disaster,” said Oxfam's spokesperson for its Philippine humanitarian program, Paul del Rosario.
In an interview earlier this week, President Benigno Aquino III also said the government has addressed its “sense of helplessness” when Ondoy struck in 2009.
“Ngayon, maraming magsasabi na mabilis silang natulungan at palagay ko naman, naaksyunan agad iyon,” he said. (Now, more people say they've been aided more quickly, and I think that was immediately acted upon.) – Rappler.com