United Nations champion for disaster risk reduction Senator Loren Legarda of the Philippines today said better disaster risk preparations are crucial to preventing casualties.
Senator Legarda said disaster risk awareness may have helped avert casualties when tropical storm Washi slammed into the Philippines this month.
Senator Loren Legarda is a Disaster Risk Reduction Champion for the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). She urged local authorities to immediately implement the country’s national Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan and devote enhanced resources to mitigating risks from natural disasters.
“Strengthening the capacity of local government units to address disaster risks and hazards is a major component of the national strategy for disaster resilience. A national plan, no matter how good, will remain ineffective if not translated into local plans and action.” – Ms. Legarda
Tropical Storm Washi, known locally as Sendong passed over the islands of the southern Philippines. Torrential rains caused extensive flash flooding, displacing 88,000 people from their homes and affecting more than 167,500 people. Philippines authorities are also reporting that 1,110 people have died.
Following the storm, Ms. Legarda called on local authorities throughout the country to invest in flood infrastructure, including river embankments, pumping stations, flood walls, drainage systems, storm drains, canals and flood retention areas, noting the high number of casualties caused by Washi could be due to a lack of awareness of the risks involved.
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) was adopted by United Nations Member States in 2000 and is owned by local, national, regional and international organizations. The secretariat to ISDR is UNISDR, an entity within the United Nations Secretariat. The mandate of UNISDR is to act as the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure that disaster risk reduction becomes integral to sound and equitable development, environmental protection and humanitarian action.