Friday, December 21, 2007

Bracing for impacts in the Philippines

Cebu Daily News (Philippines): The country’s disaster response and management agencies are preparing for the adverse impact of climate change on the weather patterns. National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) executive officer Glen Rabonza said they expect stronger typhoons that could trigger calamities in the country. “Even without climate change, we are already battered by natural calamities. So, this could get worse,” Rabonza said in an interview Monday.

For the month of November, three typhoons passed through the Philippines: Kabayan, Lando and Mina. The environment and development organization Germanwatch last week reported that the Philippines was No. 1 in the 2006 Global Climate Risk Index, the most affected among the countries that suffered from storms, floods and weather extremes last year. This was a jump from the ranking of 51st in 2005. Germanwatch reported that storms in the Philippines resulted to at least 1,267 deaths and losses totaling $4.5 billion.

…While the government is preparing for the impact of the climate change, Rabonza said, the intensity of the impact should be scientifically established. “We must be very cautious not to cause unnecessary alarm to people like prematurely calling for an evacuation because of an unexpected rise in water level in a particular area. This is the importance of a scientific basis for assessments and corresponding policy decisions,” said Rabonza.

Rabonza said at least two researches are ongoing to establish the specific impact of climate change in the Philippines. The World Bank-funded climate change adaptation project started this year and would be completed in three years

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