Legarda: Awareness Key to Building Disaster-Resilient Communities

June 10, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today underscored the importance of heightening community awareness in disaster management to strengthen preparedness against natural hazards.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) declared June 10-16 as Disaster Preparedness Week with the goal of achieving “zero casualty”.

“Awareness is key to building disaster-resilient communities. While the government is carrying out disaster preparedness programs, there should be a parallel effort to ensure that citizens are aware of the risks in their areas and how they can prepare for the onslaught of natural hazards like typhoons and earthquakes that frequently occur,” she said.

The DILG will be conducting disaster preparedness activities from the barangay to national levels with more focus on informal settler-families. They will also conduct emergency drills and the review of disaster contingency plans and waste management program of local government units.

“As we observe the Disaster Preparedness Week, I would like to stress on one key lesson: disaster prevention starts long before a typhoon makes landfall, before an earthquake happens or before a volcano erupts,” Legarda said.

“Early warning and early action should be at the very heart of our efforts. We should all understand the risks we face and equip ourselves with preventive measures to lessen the impact of natural hazards,” she added.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, Legarda has spearheaded various information and education campaigns on disaster preparedness.

She is set to launch “Ligtas”, an instructional video on disaster preparedness directed by Brillante Mendoza.

She has also produced other films and documentaries on climate change such as “Ulan sa Tag-Araw: Isang Dokyu-drama Ukol sa Pagbabago ng Klima,” children’s animation movie “Ligtas Likas”, “Now is the Time” (in partnership with UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction), and “Buhos”.

Legarda also collaborated with various government agencies to produce the Disaster Preparedness and First Aid Handbook to educate citizens how to prepare for and respond to both natural and human-induced hazards.

Furthermore, she has led the distribution of geo-hazard maps to LGUs nationwide to inform communities and citizens on the natural dangers in their areas and how to prepare during typhoons and other calamities.

“We must be ready to face all kinds of hazards—natural and human-induced. We need to build our resilience to disasters today, as well as our resilience to climate change in the future, for a much safer environment for citizens to live in,” Legarda concluded.