Press Release
July 27, 2011

Legarda: Gov't Must be Wary About Smaller Disasters

Senator Loren Legarda reiterated her call to the national and local governments to enforce a heightened level of environmental protection, manage rapidly increasing exposure to hazards from urban development, and ensure effective community-based early warning systems, as heavy rains brought by Typhoon Juaning pounded Luzon yesterday.

"Although we tend to focus only on the big disasters - the mega typhoons and disastrous floods and landslides such as Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng in 2009 that killed nearly a thousand people; Super Typhoon Durian in 2006 that caused volcanic mudflows that buried eight villages, displaced thousands of families, and killed hundreds of people in Albay; and the Guinsaugon, Leyte landslide tragedy in 2006, which killed more than a thousand people, it is the smaller disasters - the ones that kill less than 10 people and destroy less than 10 houses - which we should be especially wary about," said Legarda.

"This kind of disasters is on the rise - turbocharged by climate change. They diminish our capital, especially for the poor - human, economic, social and environmental capital - making us less resilient and unable to resist disasters and any crisis a typical household may face, be it disease, loss of jobs or livelihoods," explained Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

Legarda lamented that Typhoon Juaning killed 14 people in Albay, Catanduanes, Cavite, Marinduque and Iloilo, based on the latest National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council update.

"While this kind of disaster is responsible for only a small proportion of disaster mortality, it still accounts for a very significant proportion of damage, that accumulates over time, to public assets, livelihoods, houses and assets of low-income groups," explained Legarda, citing the main findings of the United Nations' 2011 Global Assessment Report on the Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Report revealed that although any countries are making progress in systematically recording disaster loss, but most extensive disaster losses go unaccounted for. The invisibility of such a high proportion of disaster loss is one reason why so many countries find it politically and economically difficult to prioritize investments in disaster prevention.

Senator Loren Legarda is sponsoring the proposed People's Survival Fund bill, which seeks to create a special trust fund for the financing of local programs and projects geared towards enhancing the capacities of communities in responding to the threats of disasters and climate change.

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