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Use science well to curb disaster hazards–Legarda

June 26, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–There is a growing clamor for the practical and more intense use of science to prompt decision-makers to reduce disaster hazards all over the world.

This was the consensus of top scientists, experts and advocates of disaster risk reduction from 54 countries who gathered in Beijing recently for the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Conference focusing on “Integrated Disaster Risk Science: A Tool for Sustainability.”

Attendance has doubled in the gathering, which was keynoted by Sen. Loren Legarda and was co-organized with the Integrated Research on Disaster Reduction, International Council for Science and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth.

Legarda, in a press statement, said that the overflowing information and statistics on natural hazards, disaster risks and climate change should be understood by governments and communities.

“Governments, local leaders and the people on the ground should understand the vulnerability of their communities,” she said in her keynote speech.

They should know their options, and be equipped with resources and the tools to enable them to act accordingly, she added.

Legarda cited the Philippines’ experience during Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Authorities warned communities about storm surges that could reach up to 6 meters high. Many citizens stocked up on food, secured their homes and stayed indoors, not knowing that such were not the kind of preparation needed for a storm surge. Even those in evacuation centers were not spared from the deadly onslaught of the storm surge, she said.

The geohazard map for Tacloban showed a city massively covered by purple in the outskirts and red within, which means the coastal areas were susceptible to flooding, while the inland was highly susceptible to landslides. But the people did not know.

Source: Inquirer