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Legarda: Gov’t, LGUs Should Now Be Ready for Domeng

April 8, 2014

As Tropical Storm Domeng is expected to make landfall, Senator Loren Legarda today said that government agencies and local government units (LGUs) should now be prepared and aim for zero casualty.

Tropical Storm Domeng entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Sunday. According to the latest report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Domeng is forecasted to make landfall on Wednesday or Thursday.

“The NDRRMC is constantly providing weather bulletins to its local offices. This has to be matched with preparedness on the ground and by concerned government agencies. Areas that may possibly be affected have been identified and with such information, LGUs that may be affected should have already assessed the vulnerability of their communities based on the geohazard maps, which should have been distributed to municipal and city governments by now,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

The Senator added that geohazard maps should be placed in public plazas and also urged the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Department of Education (DepEd) to place these maps in schools with the appropriate label and warning that can be understood by all.

“Everyone must know if they are residing in a vulnerable area. Citizens must be aware of the risks present in their geographical location, while LGUs must take the necessary intervention to protect their constituents from risks and hazards,” she said.

In preparing for typhoons and other natural hazards, Legarda said that LGUs should have already identified evacuation centers at least five days before a storm arrives; while the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should be ready with food packs, blankets, mats, latrines and other basic needs, especially for the elderly, women and children.

“Our barangays can prepare for the onslaught of typhoons without having to spend big. We have to prune tree branches, dredge esteros and canals, avoid the use of plastic bags so that these would not get stuck in waterways, segregate garbage and implement solid waste management,” said Legarda.

She added that LGUs and barangays can institute an effective but inexpensive early warning system.

“Early warning systems for disasters need not be high-tech or complicated since simple ones, such as a whistle, could prove more effective. Barangays can use whistles and come up with a code or system so that people would know what to do depending on the length and frequency of each whistle blow,” she said.

Furthermore, when hazards such as typhoons are expected, barangay officials and volunteers can do mobile patrolling to immediately alert people either to stay indoors or get ready to move to safer places.

“As we expect Tropical Storm Domeng to make landfall within the week, we hope that LGUs have led all citizens in preparing for the possible consequences. Our people should not hesitate to evacuate, especially if they are living in vulnerable areas. We must bring disaster preparedness to a heightened level because our aim is resilience and zero casualty,” Legarda concluded.