Saturday, December 31, 2011

Building resilience and adaptation in the Philippines

J.R. Nereus Acosta in the Philippine Inquirer: ...When climate change-driven or exacerbated disasters like Ondoy, Peping, Reming, Pedring or Sendong strike, their impact is far-reaching, protracted and nonlinear. A river swelling its banks and sweeping everything in its torrential path is not only a calamitous occurrence that affects communities in its basin or littoral areas.
Deforested swaths in once lush rainforests cause not just landslides or massive erosion in surrounding farmlands and villages.

When the Furies of Nature batter homes and livelihoods and leave multitudes reeling in despair, everything we know to be stable or predictable, the quotidian rhythms of life, is displaced or grinds to a halt. In the aftermath of the catastrophic Sendong that pummeled Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, 50,000 people were rendered homeless, more than a thousand perished and hundreds more reported missing. But the far greater tragedy is the trauma and loss for people and families, a nonphysical dislocation so wrenching and indefinite.

...The United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security ranks the Philippines the third most vulnerable country to climate impact. The country has numerous geohazard zones with crowded settlements, which means risks and costs to lives and property can be extremely high and concentrated. Yet, the capacity to adapt to future risks is low, given weak infrastructure, high poverty incidence and overall lack of preparedness....

In December, 2004, logs cover the beach near destroyed homes in Real, Republic of the Philippines after damaging floods. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joel Abshier

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