International group lauds gov’t disaster management initiatives, calls for continued strenghthening of programs
With the disaster management programs of the government, the quick response of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in the face of calamities, and the hazard mapping and the various greening projects led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Philippines is on the right track in its disaster response and mitigation initiatives.
This was according to Andrew Maskrey during the launch of the Global Assessment Report (GAR) 2011 on Disaster Risk Reduction held on July 26 at the Philippine Senate in Pasay City. However, the Philippines still has to further strengthen its disaster risk reduction programs as more damages are foreseen to happen in the coming years effect and as more infrastructures are built and the population continues to rise at a fast rate, Maskrey added.
Maskrey, coordinating lead author of GAR 2011, cited not only the Philippines in disaster risk but also other countries who have experienced calamities and those who are prone to such. "Even affluent and technologically-advanced Japan suffered greatly in the March tsunami," Maskrey pointed out.
In the report, 21 countries have experienced ten times the volume of destructed facilities over the past years. Public development projects like school buildings, health facilities, roads, water and sanitation systems have experienced major ruination especiallyin low-income countries.
The report also showed that while the number of natural disasters has not changed over the years, the losses caused by these disasters have increased in such high levels that have affected economies worldwide.
Maskrey explained that in disasters, the "economic aspect" is the more pressing concern as it is "affected by urban systems loss (like electricity, transportation, communication, banking, technology, connectivity) that could lead to the loss of economic assets as well as public infrastructures."
Given the initiatives of the present government, the coordination and synergy of national and local government units in times of incoming and actual disasters, and the creation of a Climate Change Commission, continued efforts are recommended by the GAR and theUnited Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)to reduce vulnerability.
Thus, the government is urged to strengthen its commitment in coming up with strategic planning for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and reform risk governance to achieve the 2015 target of reduced disaster-related losses.
The GAR entitled “Revealing Risk, Redefining Development” is a biennial global assessment of disaster risk reduction and a comprehensive review and analysis of the natural hazards affecting humanity.
The GAR 2011 reviews how governments, including the Philippines and 129 others, are scaling up disaster risk management by adapting development instruments, such as national planning, public investment systems, and social protection mechanisms. The target is to have reduced disaster-caused losses by 2015.