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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Long-term measures vs. floods key OCD priority

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BOOSTING river basin management and other measures to mitigate the risk of flooding in flood-prone areas in the country will gain needed backing from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

“We cannot deny the fact that there are challenges and existing problems that need to be resolved with regard to the recurring problem of flooding in various areas of the country and these are pressing concerns,” OCD administrator and Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said Monday.

“The government agencies, local government units, the private sector and companies, experts, as well as the public should work together in addressing all those challenges and problems,” he said.

Nepomuceno discussed the need to strengthen interventions and implement long-term solutions that include revisiting and formulation of new policies and plans that will cover all major river basins; strict implementation against human activities that aggravate the problems such as irresponsible mining practices; environmental protection; improvement of flood-control projects and other engineering interventions, permanent relocation of vulnerable communities.

Clearer accountabilities, he added, must also be drawn.

Meanwhile, the OCD reported that emergency response operations in the Davao Region have gone full swing following the aftermath of the shear line, northeast monsoon and trough of a low-pressure area (LPA).

With a total of 129,466 families affected, 17 landslides and 50 flooding incidents reported as of writing, Nepomuceno said Davao is among the regions most susceptible to weather disturbances.

“Multiple weather disturbances affected the Davao region in just one month. The continuous rains in the upland areas, the heavy siltation of Tagum-Libuganon River, and the rise of water levels in several river systems due to excessive rains have caused landslides and flooding in the region. We are discussing these concerns alongside the ongoing response operations in the area,” Nepomuceno continued.

Still subject to validation, 16 fatalities, 11 injured, and three were also reported in the region.

In addition, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Operations Center, manned by OCD officers and personnel, is still on Blue Alert status as response and coordination activities continue.

“OCD is continuously coordinating and working with all relevant agencies to ensure provision of timely and appropriate support to the affected communities. President Bongbong Marcos and NDRRMC Chair and DND Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. are also closely monitoring the situation in Davao and other affected areas,” Nepomuceno explained.

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