LGUs need to adapt better to more destructive weather disaster – Gordon
Citing the drastic effects of climate change to the Filipino people, Senator Richard J. Gordon today urged local government units (LGUs) to adapt to the adverse impact of stronger and more destructive typhoons traversing the country.
Gordon, who chairs the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the country’s premier humanitarian organization, said local authorities must accept the fact that storms are increasingly becoming more powerful due to the onslaught of climate change.
“I'm anticipating. The best lesson to learn is, right now, climate change has changed the whole nine yards,” he said, mindful that the country is often visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year.
“You have more storm surges. You have more powerful winds. You have more rain. So, adjustments must be made. Man must learn how to practice adaptations,” he added.
Considered as the strongest storm to hit the country this year, typhoon Odette (international codename Rai) has left a swath of destruction across hundreds of towns in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
According to the latest figures released by the Philippine National Police, the death toll stemming from the storm had risen to 375, while 52 people remained reportedly missing.
Typhoon Odette has affected over 1.8 million people after making landfall nine times, according to official estimates. It had also toppled power and communication lines, uprooted trees, stripped buildings of roofs, and shattered windows.
Authorities have initially estimated the damages to agriculture and infrastructure at PhP2.2 billion and PhP585.8 million, respectively. This includes damages to road, bridges, and flood structures.
Gordon, an advocate of disaster risk reduction, called on pertinent government agencies to revisit housing and building structural designs by looking at archetype of typhoon-resistant architecture to help weather powerful winds.
“’Yung design ng bahay natin talagang madalingliparin. ‘Yan, dapat special effort ng gobyerno na magpa-design ng bahay not only to be strong against winds but para malalapat, ma-adjust doon sa hangin katulad saibang bansa na may A-frame sila sa houses nila tulad ngSwitzerland at ibang Nordic countries para pag bumagsakang yelo, babagsak doon sa A-Frame houses,” he explained.
Gordon also underscored the importance of pro-active dissemination of weather advisories to alert LGUs, notably those in the coastal and low-lying areas, so that they take swift and appropriate actions to prepare against disasters.
In the Senate, Gordon has introduced bills that address the impact of disasters in the country. Among them include Republic Act (RA) 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, and RA 9803, also known as the Food Donation Act.
He had filed several Senate Resolutions (SR) tackling disaster risk reduction and preparedness, including SR 600, which seeks to implement a comprehensive recovery plan for areas affected by a typhoon, and SR 253, which seeks for the Philippines to prepare a culture of disaster preparedness.