Saturday, December 24, 2011

President Aquino vows political will to solve Philippine flooding

Aurea Calica in the President Aquino has vowed to exercise political will to make government officials do whatever would be necessary to mitigate the effects of disasters hitting the country every year. Aquino also said those officials found to have been responsible for the loss of lives in the flashfloods that struck the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan during tropical storm “Sendong” last week would have to face the consequences.

“Like what happened in Iligan, there were so many logs when the ban on logging in the residual forests and natural forests has been there because forest cover has been (denuded), that’s where the flooding is coming from,” Aquino said during an interview with GMA 7 late Friday.

“But the problem is many are still violating (the log ban). So we have a fact-finding team that will determine the violators and we will file cases and hold them accountable,” he said. Aquino stressed the importance of imposing political will. “Firstly, we will demonstrate political will and force my subordinates to do what is right,” he said.

...The President added he wanted concerned authorities to do their jobs well in responding to the disaster so he waited before proceeding to Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Dumaguete City. He said he wanted local officials to concentrate on attending to the problems rather than bother with his visit.

Aquino on Tuesday ordered a probe to determine the possible negligence of officials in the floods that left over a thousand people dead and scores more missing in several areas in Mindanao following the storm. Aquino said he wanted a probe on who should be held responsible for the tragedy to serve as a lesson so that it would not happen again....

Tropical Storm Washi (also known as Sendong) devastated the Philippines on December 16 and 17, 2011. The storm was not powerful in the traditional sense—it’s winds never surpassed 55 knots (100 kilometers per hour or 63 miles per hour) and it lacked the organization of an intense typhoon or hurricane. Nonetheless, Washi unleashed extremely heavy rain on northwest Mindanao,. and the resulting floods left hundreds dead or missing. This image shows rainfall between December 15 and midday on December 19. Dark blue spots indicate areas of extreme rain, and the largest area is in northwest Mindanao. The image was made with data from the Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis, which combines measurements from many satellites and calibrates them with rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. Most of the rain fell on Friday, December 16. The rain rushed down mountain slopes and converged on coastal communities overnight, while people were sleeping. The ensuing flash floods left 957 dead and 1,582 injured as of December 20, reported the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Most of the fatalities came in Cagayan De Oro and Iligan City. Nearly 340,000 people have been affected by the disaster.

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