MANILA – The Chair of the House Committee on Disaster Resilience, Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez de Leyte, said on Monday that a centralized government agency is needed to make disaster preparedness more comprehensive, responsive and personalized on the basis of ‘technical and scientific analyzes.
Torres-Gomez said the disparity in disaster preparedness and response from one local government unit (LGU) to another was highlighted in the wake of Typhoon Odette.
âA disaster is just too big and too complex for LGUs to handle on their own. And yes, some LGUs are capable, but we just can’t leave something as critical as disaster resilience, preparedness, response and recovery to the whims of chance, âsays Torres-Gomez.
She cited the town of Ormoc as an example which has invested in disaster preparedness, noting that electricity and water supplies have been restored, allowing Ormoc citizens to bounce back, recover from the effects of Odette. , almost immediately after the storm.
Meanwhile, she said other provinces that were ill-prepared now face the prospect of a power outage for at least a month, which would set the local economy back in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in Classes.
âThe destruction caused by Super Typhoon Odette is, once again, a bitter reminder that we still have a long way to go in building our resilience to disasters. Yes, we have significantly reduced the number of casualties thanks to substantial improvements in local evacuations, âshe said. .
Besides the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience, she said there were still âlow-valueâ solutions that had yet to be reached.
She said there was a need to focus on three economic pillars: cleaning up road debris, protecting and restoring power lines, and maintaining internet and telephone communications.
âAny lack of these economic cornerstones has a profound impact on the availability of basic human needs; such as water, food and fuel supply, as well as access to basic services; such as banking services, emergency health care, grocery stores and pharmacies. Without these basic pieces of infrastructure, recovery and rehabilitation would be a difficult climb, âshe said.
In its Monday afternoon update, the NDRRMC said it had confirmed nine deaths and two injuries. Meanwhile, currently being validated, reports show 49 deaths, 199 injured and 18 missing.
âOdetteâ also left an initial value of PHP 343,454,774 for infrastructure and agriculture in Visayas and Mindanao.
It also destroyed various government facilities, flood control projects, roads, bridges and other infrastructure amounting to PHP 225,170,000, as well as various agricultural products worth PHP 118,284,774.
At least 54,783 houses were totally or partially destroyed, 41 sections of road and four sections of bridge collapsed, as well as four airports and 118 sea ports were damaged while 5,391.77 hectares of crops and many areas of farming and poultry have been completely wiped out in the affected areas. (ANP)