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Disaster resilience: How soon we recover from disaster is important

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In the past few days, heavy rains caused flooding in many parts of the country due to tropical depression “Dodong.”  The floods did not only cause heavy traffic that extended a usual short trip to three hours, these also caused damages to crops and property.

Meanwhile, Mayon Volcano’s restiveness remains under Alert Level 3, with very slow effusion of lava flow extending to kilometers, and more than 200 rockfall events recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Because of the country’s geography, Filipinos are no strangers to natural disasters.  “The majority of the country’s total land area and nearly three fourths of the Filipino population are vulnerable to multiple hazards, such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, storm surges, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and landslides,”  according to a World Bank report on the country’s risk index.

Thus the need for disaster resilience.

How fast communities can bounce back from the damages caused by a tropical depression’s heavy rainfall, Mayon Volcano’s present state of restiveness, and other natural disasters, is what disaster resilience is about.  Resilience is the ability of a community to cope with, adapt and recover quickly from the impact of a disaster.

National Disaster Resilience Month (NDRM) is observed every July throughout the country since the signing of Executive Order No. 29 in 2017, renaming the National Disaster Consciousness Month and shifting its focus from disaster awareness building to disaster resilience.

One of its objectives is to create awareness through activities related to building of disaster resilience covering the four thematic areas:  disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response, and disaster rehabilitation and recovery.

Creating awareness is important because disaster resilience cannot thrive as a reaction to a natural disaster.  Acting now to be prepared for disasters builds a community’s resilience.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), composed of several government agencies, is the lead agency mandated to develop a National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Framework (NDRRMF) to provide for a comprehensive, all-hazards, multi-sectoral, inter-agency and community-based approach to reducing the risks of disasters.

The NDRRMC is tasked to implement programs for the observance of NDRM. The theme of this year’s observance is “BIDAng Pilipino: Building a stronger Filipino well-being towards disaster resilience.”

Various activities were held during the launching of this year’s NDRM.  In Central Visayas, the Philippine Red Cross extended a total of ₱1 billion worth of humanitarian assistance to families affected by disasters in Cebu.  This included the construction and repair of houses and livelihood assistance to empower families to recover from the effects of disasters.
In Western Visayas, a DRRM Expo showcased the disaster response capabilities of local government offices, volunteer groups and private sector organizations.

In the National Capital Region, local government units held activities to create awareness on disaster preparedness, which included plans to open training centers for Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) staff and volunteers.

In the private sector, companies boosted ongoing programs to build disaster resilience.  A corporation launched the observance by distributing guidebooks for their employees to create disaster preparedness plans for their families.

“The approved NDRRMF envisions safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient Filipino communities toward sustainable development and conveys a paradigm shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to increase people’s resilience and decrease their vulnerabilities,” the executive order states.

Start your family’s plan to build disaster resilience. Have an emergency go-bag at home and in your vehicle. As the experts tell us:  Being prepared builds resilience, or the ability to recover quickly from a natural disaster.

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