Press Release
February 8, 2011

Legarda Welcomes World Bank Country Director at Senate for High-Level Technical Briefing on Disaster Prevention

World Bank-Philippines Country Director Bert Hofman will be the Guest of Honor in the Senate of the Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, Senator Loren Legarda, for a high level technical briefing on the latest report by the World Bank and the United Nations titled, "Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Promotion", on Thursday, February 10, 9:30 am at the Senator Padilla Room.

Hofman, together with Apurva Sanghi, lead author of the publication, and Yan Zhang, WB-Philippines Country Sector Coordinator, will discuss the main findings of the report and the implications on the Philippines before an audience that consists of legislators, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, international organizations, non-government organizations, the academe, and medical institutions.

Officials of concerned government agencies--Sec. Cayetano Paderanga Jr. of the National Economic and Development Authority, Sec. Cesar Purisima of the Department of Finance, and Presidential Assistant for Climate Change Elisea Gozun--will provide their insights and responses.

Legarda, the UNISDR's Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, said that the report focuses on the benefits of prevention, which it suggests, is possible and cost-effective.

According to the report, disasters from 1970 to 2008 have caused 3.3 million deaths worldwide, and damages from weather-related hazards may reach to $185-billion annually by 2100.

Governments are therefore urged to take actions--specifically, improved spending on early warning systems, critical infrastructures, and environmental buffers--that are needed for effective prevention.

"This is the message we have been vigorously telling everyone--prevention pays. Scaling up budget lines for adaptation can avert spending for post-disaster relief, recovery and reconstruction. We have all the reasons to be concerned about the cost of disasters. The damage wrought by Typhoons Ondoy andPepeng in 2009 already require 227 billion pesos for reconstruction," Legarda said.

"This technical briefing by World Bank officials, led by Mr. Hofman, would encourage our finance and economic managers to prioritize investments on disaster risk reduction," Legarda concluded.

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