WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN? | Disasters worsen persistent poverty despite growth – Loren

January 21, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — The impressive growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product trumpeted by the administration has made no dent in the poverty incidence, which is worsened by disasters and the other effects of climate change, Senator Loren Legarda said Tuesday.

“Despite our impressive economic growth, our poverty incidence hardly changed,” Legarda said in a statement. “Poverty and inequalities worsen as natural hazards and climate change constantly affect the poor and keep them trapped in a vicious cycle of risk and poverty.”

“Disaster resilience is linked to poverty alleviation,” Legarda told a forum she organized with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction to discuss strengthening disaster risk insurance.

The senator, named the UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, noted that the National Economic and Development Authority estimated total damage and losses from super typhoon Yolanda at P571 billion or $12.9 billion.

The Asian Development Bank, on the other hand, estimated that that poverty incidence in Eastern Visayas, the region hardest hit by Yolanda, increased from 41.2 percent in 2012 to 55.7 percent in 2013.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate committee on climate change, said the national and local governments, together with the private sector, should make good use of lessons learned from past disasters by building better, complying with resiliency benchmarks, and ensuring that the risks and vulnerabilities that existed before each natural hazard do not recur.

She added that DRR strategies should include measures not only to prevent the loss of lives but also protect sources of livelihood and employment.

“Poverty breeds disaster vulnerability, where those who have least in life risk life most. Thus, as disasters become more prevalent, the higher is the right of the poor to social protection, and the higher is the duty of government to reduce disaster risk in pursuit of resilient development. Disaster risk reduction is social justice in action,” she said.

“Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation must be closely linked to development — the kind of development that does not create new risks and promotes resilient investments,” she added.

Source: InterAksyon.com