Preparedness during disasters-A A +A
Thursday, July 31, 2014
DID you know that among 173 countries, the Philippines ranked third globally in the World Risk Index which ranks global disaster hot spots.
Timely it seems that we write about disaster preparedness since July is Disaster Preparedness Month. But we do believe that we should be prepared every day.
The Alliance Development Works which conducted the ranking based their findings on two categories namely, Highest Risk and Most Exposed to disasters resulting from extreme natural events.
The World Risk Index is calculated using four elements namely exposure, susceptibility, lack of coping capacities and lack of adaptive capacities.
The combination of these four would yield the vulnerability index that translates to the possibility of a disaster happening due to an extreme natural event.
An example of this is a rainfall good for a month falls in just one day that saw massive floods brought by Ondoy and Habagat. and for Baguio and Benguet, Typhoon Peppeng that also contributed to collapsed buildings and landslides.
Risk in this case may be understood as the interaction between a hazard namely flood, cyclone, drought, rising sea level, and the vulnerability of societies.
Exposure refers to entities (population, built-up area, infrastructure component, environmental areas) being exposed to the effects of one or more natural hazards (earthquakes, cyclones, droughts, floods and sea level rise). It counts the number of people exposed to earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts and sea level rise.
Exposure relates to the annual average number of individuals who are potentially exposed to hazardous events. In this regard, the frequency of hazards is also taken into account.
Additionally, the number of people are considered who would potentially be affected by the sea level rising by one meter.
Susceptibility is the likelihood of harm, loss and disruption in an extreme event triggered by a natural hazard.
Coping and coping capacities are the ability of societies and exposed elements to minimize the negative impacts of natural hazards and climate change through direct action and the resources available.
Adaptation is a long-term process that also includes structural changes taking into account: “education and research”, “gender equity”, “environmental status/ecosystem protection”, “adaptation strategies” and “investments”.
The World Risk Index also considered this as a measure of poverty or incompetence of government or both. The poorer a country is, the larger the population is who are poor, the less developed the infrastructure the less prepared government, the greater is the risk of disaster.
Taking into consideration that the Philippines is a growing third world economic nation, our present government is in the forefront of improving disaster preparedness plans to reduce the negative effects of a changing climate.
As it is, government nor private organizations cannot do it alone . A convergence of resources by both parties will help a great deal in confronting with this looming threat to society.
This is why the Office of the Civil Defense particularly in the Cordillera takes into account the importance of local government units attention to exposure, susceptibility, coping capacities, and adaptive capacity in their disaster preparedness plans.
Japan considered to be the most prepared in terms of disaster preparedness succumbed to the Tsunami. This only shows that no matter how we prepare, we will still be victims of mother natures wrath.
Although our country now continuous to study climate change and it's negative effects, our human resource must continue to be educated as this may prove to be the key to decrease it's effects.
And as such, information materials are always available on the internet. And thus, it's another way of becoming individually prepared in cases of calamities and disasters.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 01, 2014.