Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mindanao solons want planning to avoid calamities

Imelda V. Abaño And Bong D. Fabe in the Business Mirror (Philippines): The Philippine government urgently needs more planning to respond to the growing threats of disaster aggravated by climate change such as the devastation brought by the recent series of floods, earthquakes and tsunamis, said Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Pimentel, who convened the Mindanao Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction and Geo-Hazard Awareness together with Sen. Teofisto Guingona III on Feb. 18-19, told the 500 participants mostly from Mindanao that better planning is needed as the vulnerability of the country to catastrophes is growing.

Guingona called for the crafting of a comprehensive disaster management plan for Mindanao, noting that what happens in one place in the island affects other places. “It is now time to have a Mindanao island-wide disaster management plan. Disaster and calamities such as typhoons and storms no longer spare Mindanao. What happened in one place also affect others,” he said at the sideline of the Mindanao Disaster Risk Reduction Summit which opened here the morning of Saturday, Feb. 18.

Guingona, who calls the province of Bukidnon home, said that the environment in Mindanao is interconnected and as such, one city’s or province’s disaster management plan should be related to the plan of its neighbors. “It is no longer acceptable that a city or province has a disaster management plan that is not connected or related to its neighbors’ Mindanao now needs a comprehensive plan for disaster,” he stressed.

The summit was organized two months after Typhoon Sendong hit Northern Mindanao, killing more than 1,200 people and destroying homes, schools, agriculture products and infrastructures especially in this city and Iligan City. At present, hundreds of families are still living in the evacuation centers and temporary shelters  which generally have no electricity and not enough water, food and other basic needs. They are also poorly ventilated.

“We need to know better ideas on how to mitigate the effects of natural disasters and even to prevent man-made catastrophes,” Pimentel said during the summit, adding that the economic and human impact of the disasters in the country is extraordinary....

Typhoon Ewiniar formed in the western Pacific on June 29, 2006, shown here approaching Mindanao in the Philippines, visible well to the storm’s west. From NASA

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