Legarda wants 67m kids out of danger

November 25, 2013

SENATOR Loren Legarda on Sunday underscored the need to make the communities and schools disaster-resilient to keep the Filipino children out of harm’s way.

She said 66.5 million children were being affected by various disasters annually. She recalled that in 2006 the landslide in Guinsaugon village in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, killed more than 1,000 people including 246 elementary schoolchildren.

She said that in the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, 10,000 schools collapsed and killed 17,000 children, while in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China 7,000 schools collapsed and killed an estimated 10,000 children.

“If our schools are not structurally sound, a single strong temblor could kill hundreds of children studying inside their classrooms unaware of the disaster that would fall upon them. This makes this initiative all the more important,” Legarda said.

She said building resilience to disasters in the education sector was a worthy investment as it would save lives and achieve development goals.

“I therefore enjoin everyone to assess the safety of our schools and let us work together towards the resilience of our children’s second homes,” Legarda said.

She noted that the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol damaged at least 85 schools in Regions VI and VII, while typhoon Yolanda caused damage to school infrastructure worth P174 Million.

Legarda said the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction led by Margareta Wahlstrom, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for DRR, had encouraged schoolchildren, teachers and communities to assess the safety of their schools with the launch of the international program “How Safe Is Your School?”

“Through this program, we invite citizens to participate in the process of making schools disaster-resilient with the initial step of assessing the safety of schools in their communities not only in terms of ensuring the structural integrity of the buildings but also in making sure that students and school staff are prepared in the event a natural hazard occurs,” Legarda said.

Source: Manila Standard