A House leader on Wednesday called for the strengthening of disaster resilience of communities.
Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez of Leyte, chairperson of the House committee on disaster resilience, said this as her province was devasted by strong typhoons in a span of five years.
“The destruction resulting from Super typhoon Odette is, once again, a bitter reminder that we still have a long way to go in strengthening our disaster resilience. Yes, we have significantly decreased casualties due to substantial improvements in local evacuations,” the lawmaker said.
“But we must not stop here. There are still more ‘low-hanging fruit’ solutions that are yet to be achieved, in laying the foundation for swifter local recovery and rehabilitation,” she added.
Torres-Gomez said to speed up the rehabilitation process, power and telecommunication facilities should be restored in the shortest possible time.
“The repercussions for failing in these go beyond transportation, lighting, and cellphone usage. In fact, any lack in these economic cornerstones deeply impact the availability of basic human needs, such as water, food and fuel supplies, as well as access to basic services such as, banking, emergency health care, grocery and drug stores. Without these basic infrastructure elements, recovery and rehabilitation would be an uphill climb,” she stressed.
“In the aftermath of Super-typhoon Odette, we have seen a disparity in disaster preparation and response from one local government unit (LGU) to another,” the solon added.
For example, she said the simplest solution to avoiding fallen power lines is to clear potentially damaging trees within a certain proximity.
“Local government units, like Ormoc City, that have invested in preparing ahead for Super-Typhoon Odette are now reaping the fruits of their disaster preparedness. Power and water supply have been restored, allowing the citizens in Ormoc to bounce back, recover and move on from the effects of Odette, almost immediately after the storm.”
“Conversely, other provinces that were poorly prepared now face the prospect of power outage for at least a month. This would definitely set back the local economy, compounding even further, the drag brought about by the pandemic,” she added.