Senator: Philippines can draw lessons from preparations on Hurricane Sandy-A A +A
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
MANILA -- Government agencies can learn from the effective disaster preparedness measures taken by local officials in the United States, particularly in New York, one of the states whipped up by Hurricane Sandy on Monday, said Senator Loren Legarda.
As early as last Friday, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced that modes of public transportation like the subway were closed and residents were told to stay indoors.
By Sunday, tunnels and bridges were already closed and all flights going in and out of the area were cancelled.
"The US' experience with Sandy shows us that while such a massive force of nature is frightening and unstoppable, we can drastically reduce our losses by combining the latest technology, the most up-to-date information, and effective and efficient public warning systems. Ultimately, we must take responsibility for each other, and we must use all our resources to do so," said Legarda.
Still, eight million homes in several states grappled with blackouts and waves as high as four meters slammed Manhattan in New York. Trading at Wall Street only resumed Wednesday after a two-day break, a first since the 1800s.
Damage to businesses and infrastructure in the East Coast is expected to top the $50-billion mark.
Sandy, categorized as typhoon in the Philippines, is dubbed the strongest weather disturbance experienced by the region in 27 years, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour or 130 kilometers per hour.
While monitoring the developments in the US, Benito Ramos of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) lauded the Americans for mitigating the effects of the storm, which has so far claimed 40 lives.
"The forced evacuation was effective and there was really public cooperation unlike here where some people refuse to leave their homes even at the height of the storm," Ramos, the agency’s executive director, said in an interview.
Ramos, however, said government agencies are working hard to achieve the zero-casualty target.
Fifteen storms have so far visited the country this year but weathermen are expecting five more in November and December. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)