Loren: Localize DRR to be effective

March 20, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda yesterday reiterated the importance of localizing disaster risk reduction (DRR), stressing that only with resilient communities are we able to build a resilient nation.

Legarda, United Nations Champion for DRR and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said that one of the important aspects of the new Sendai Framework for DRR, which was adopted during the recently concluded 3rd UN World Conference for DRR in Sendai, Japan, is “to localize DRR.”

“Our laws on climate change and DRR are considered among the best in the world, but the challenge is ensuring that these laws work. Good policies are useless if we do not bring them to the local level. Our local government units (LGUs) must embrace these policies and translate them into action,” said Legarda, who sponsored the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and authored the Climate Change Act of 2009.

The senator explained various ways to implement DRR at the local level, including operationalizing geohazard and multi-hazard maps, which specify the risks present in every community.

“We must invest in DRR by following our geohazard maps to determine the no-build zones, opposite the safe areas to build housing and infrastructure. When building homes, schools, hospital buildings and other structures, we must follow building codes to ensure structural integrity. Along the coast, we must plant more mangroves because these are the best buffer against any storm surge and tsunami,” she added.

Legarda also said that multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) must be established to ensure that LGUs and the people themselves would know how to prepare for the various risks that a natural hazard brings.

“Our early warnings should not be just on a single hazard, it should be multi-hazard because when a typhoon comes, it may also bring with it a storm surge, flooding or landslide. So it is important that we establish multi-hazard early warning systems,” she explained.

She added that MHEWS should inform the people of the potential impacts of impending natural hazards, the risks on their lives and livelihoods, and the action they should take.

“This approach promotes public awareness and understanding of impacts and risks from natural hazards, and guides the people and sectors at risk in making decisions and taking early action. Everyone in the community must understand the risks and be part of the solution,” Legarda concluded.

Source: Journal Online