Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Flood-prone Visayas needs better adaptation

Jonathan L. Mayuga in the Business Mirror: The intense climate-related natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific call for better mitigation and adaptation programs, particularly in the Philippines’s Visayas islands, which now appear to be more frequented by typhoons and heavy rains, experts said.

Rosa Perez, a climate and weather expert from the Manila Observatory, said that in the last decade, the path of tropical cyclones has changed and is now landing in the Visayas.  This, she said, could be attributed to the rising temperature of the water in the region.

Speaking at a forum dubbed Confronting the Rising Threat of Climate Disasters organized by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Perez said there’s a need to put more science in addressing the impact of climate-related disasters such as floods, particularly in terms of budget allocation to reduce risks of disasters and enhance the resiliency of the vulnerable communities. The forum aims to address the challenges and risks from climate-related natural disasters.

 The Philippines remains highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which scientists attribute to man-made induced global warming. Budget, she said, should hence be channeled in areas which needed it most, considering the changing paths of tropical cyclones. She said the relocation of those “at risk” to flood is one of the possible steps that needs to be done to avert disaster.

...Vinod Thomas, director general of Independent Evaluation at the ADB, said such disasters should be addressed as a regular thing, considering the frequency of typhoons and rains that trigger massive flooding. He underscored the need to enhance the country’s disaster-risk reduction program, by putting in place early-warning systems that actually works, to prevent loss of lives....

Aerial view of Malapuscua, one of the Visayas Islands, shot by Mike Wieland, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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