Legarda calls for establishment of early warning systems

April 9, 2011 2:01 am 

MANILA, April 8 – As another strong earthquake jolted Japan, Senator Loren Legarda cited on Friday the need for the immediate establishment of early warning systems and prioritization of disaster preparedness programs.

Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change, cited the results of a recent Pulse Asia survey which revealed that 56 percent of Filipinos believe that the government must prioritize early warning mechanisms among its disaster preparedness efforts.

The same survey also showed 19 percent of the Filipinos demand for the storing up of relief goods, 16 percent asked for designating evacuation centers and 10 percent for purchase of rescue and relief equipment.

“It is good to know that many of our citizens are aware of the importance of establishing effective early warning systems in their communities. This should prompt the government, especially the local governments and barangay officials to work on it immediately,” she stressed.

“Our early warning system must be able to integrate risk knowledge, monitoring and warning service, risk communication and warning dissemination, and the response capacity of the community,” she added.

The senator also noted that the same survey revealed that 61 percent of Filipinos were not satisfied with the services and assistance they received from the government after disasters. Such was the result even with the government spending millions of pesos for disaster relief operations.

She pointed out that investing in disaster preparedness, especially on early warning mechanisms, will not only save lives and properties but also reduce expenses on post-disaster efforts such as relief and rehabilitation.

“Effective early warning does not have to be costly. Sirens or whistles can be used as early warning devices and training programs for volunteers can facilitate awareness and education on disasters and arm the community against the perils of hazards. Communities that invest in early warning save a lot of lives and reduce the economic impacts of disasters,” Legarda said.

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Thursday night, almost a month after a powerful tremor and tsunami devastated the northeastern part of Japan. (PNA)



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