Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Filipinos lack climate protection on the ground, despite laws

Imelda V. Abano at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: Progress in rebuilding the Philippine city of Tacloban and the lives of its residents devastated by Typhoon Haiyan last November has been painstakingly slow, according to the city’s mayor Alfred Romualdez.

And while driving forward recovery from the disaster, the local authorities must also work out how best to deal with extreme weather in the future – which is expected to get worse as the planet warms. "Climate change is a reality, and we are experiencing that already," Romualdez told a recent planning session with international aid agencies working on the post-typhoon rehabilitation effort.

Local governments urgently need to organise themselves so they can fund and put into practice measures to adapt to climate-linked hazards like storms, floods and droughts, the mayor added. “It will not be easy for a city that lost scores of lives, saw its infrastructure damaged, and was left with almost nothing,” Romualdez emphasised.

At national level, the Philippines does have policies, regulations and laws in place that mandate action to manage disaster risk and tackle climate change. But implementing these locally is proving harder, government officials and lawmakers agree.

Beyond helping communities shattered by Haiyan to rebuild their homes and livelihoods, Filipino lawmakers also face the task of reviewing and strengthening legislation in order to protect the country better if another super-typhoon strikes...

Tacloban's seaport before the storm, shot by JinJian, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license

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