Legarda on DRR Day: Manage Risks to Reduce Disaster Mortality

October 12, 2016

In celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) on October 13, Senator Loren Legarda said that the country should strengthen disaster risk management plans and programs to effectively reduce disaster mortality and eradicate poverty.


Legarda, Global Champion for Resilience of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said the first of the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is the reduction of global disaster mortality, which is the focus of this year’s IDDR celebration.


“In the first year of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, we are asked: What are we doing to implement the first target to reduce mortality? In the face of imminent threats and the new normal, we cannot do business as usual,” said Legarda.


According to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), there were 7,056 disasters recorded worldwide during the period 1996 to 2015. Natural hazards in the past 20 years killed 1.35 million people, more than half died in earthquakes and the remaining due to weather- and climate-related hazards.


In the Philippines, deaths caused by storms alone reached 15,880 during the period 2006-2015, significantly higher than the 3,970 storm deaths in the previous decade.


In line with this, Legarda renewed her call for the government to integrate the Sendai Framework in its national and local plans and programs for DRR to contribute to the achievement of the following seven global targets: (1) reduce disaster mortality, (2) reduce the number of affected people, (3) reduce direct economic loss in relation to global GDP, (4) reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, (5) increase the number of countries with national and local DRR strategies, (6) enhance international cooperation to developing countries, and (7) increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and DRR information assessments.


“The Sendai Framework for DRR urges us not to manage disasters but to manage the risks so that natural hazards would not turn into disasters.  Reducing disaster risk is key to poverty eradication and sustainable development,” said Legarda.


“It is critical that we strengthen our adaptation actions at national and local levels. Examples of these are preparing risk assessment, protecting ecosystems, improving agricultural methods, managing water resources, building settlements in safe zones, developing early warning systems, instituting better building designs, improving insurance coverage, and developing social safety nets,” she added.


Legarda also explained that engaging rural people in decision-making, especially to understand autonomous adaptation and the interplay of informal and formal institutions, plays an important role in strengthening public decision-making.


“I hope we could all heed the call for action. Let us all take a proactive role in making the Sendai Framework work for us. Let us prove that our nation remains steadfast in its commitment to building a more resilient and sustainable planet,” Legarda concluded.