EDITORIAL

Are we ready?

TYPHOON “Karen” further weakened yesterday morning as it was about to exit the Luzon landmass. But a severe tropical storm is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility today and will be named “Lawin.”
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has already issued a La Niña watch. The phenomenon is expected to bring heavy rains. Do we have effective climate-resilient and disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs?
During La Niña, the country is expected to experience more than the normal rainfall as well as more typhoons. Local government units (LGUs) must enhance community-based disaster management and early warning systems. Empowered and equipped with the necessary mandate, knowledge, skills and tools, LGUs should develop their own DRR and climate change adaption plan of action to prevent the loss of life and minimize the damage to property brought about by extreme weather conditions.
LGUs should improve disaster risk information through risk identification or assessment, make people more responsive to government-issued disaster warnings, reduce sources of risk and exposure of vulnerable sector by providing house upgrading and relocation options for settlers located in hazardous areas, and ensure effective disaster preparedness and recovery mechanisms by encouraging active participation of the vulnerable communities.
Agencies of government, both national and local levels, must work together to help communities projected to be hit by the La Niña adapt to the phenomenon. Desilting and dredging of rivers, canals and drainage systems should already be underway to reduce or prevent flooding. Meanwhile, communities in landslide prone areas should already have been relocated not only due to the impending La Niña, but also because such areas should not be inhabited in the first place.
We have to be ready for the impacts of La Niña.

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