Press Release
December 18, 2011

Legarda Alarmed over Typhoon Sendong Death Toll;
Renews Call for Improved Flood Mitigation Measures

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for heightened flood disaster prevention and management in all communities all over the country as she expressed alarm over Typhoon Sendong death toll.

As of the 5:00am Sunday report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, there were already 327 confirmed deaths, mostly due to flashfloods in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City. The same report stated that there is massive flooding over Region 10.

"We deeply commiserate with the victims of Typhoon Sendong. The fact that it is already Christmas next week makes it harder to witness the miserable situation--lives taken away and families displaced by ravaging flashfloods," Legarda said.

"The devastating flashfloods said to be the worst in the history of Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City reveal the increasing severity of typhoons that we must be prepared for. The lack of capacity of communities to be prepared for worst case scenarios must be urgently addressed," she explained noting NDRRMC statement that many residents refused to leave their homes.

The Senator who chairs the Committee on Climate Change called for immediate relief for affected families, stressing it is the least the government can do for those who undergo pain and have no means to celebrate this holiday season.

It is also in this light that Legarda alerted local government units to improve flood mitigation measures amid worsening extreme weather events.

"LGUs affected by Typhoon Sendong should immediately assess the causes and effects of the massive flooding that occurred and make recommendations to improve flood mitigation and management before another typhoon hits their area," she explained.

"The same goes for other LGUs who must not wait to be inundated before taking the necessary flood prevention measures such as investing in flood control infrastructure, including river embankments, pumping stations, flood walls, drainage systems, storm drains, canals, and flood retention areas," she added.

LGUs must also set-up early warning systems, create a team of flood volunteers to be mobilized during such emergency situations, and improve their land use plans.

"We have to take note that the high number of casualties caused by Typhoon Sendong could be due to lack of awareness of the risk and proper action of residents in affected areas, as they have not experienced floods of such magnitude in the past. Thus, information dissemination and community disaster preparedness is also a crucial part in this effort, because an educated populace would be prepared and know what to do in times of disaster," Legarda concluded.

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