Editorial: Flooding remains and floods will return-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
IT WAS just the news that shifted focus, vast areas in Luzon remain flooded while we all awaited news about Secretary Jesse Robredo and the two pilots fate, and it will be in the living up to Robredoās legacy that we return our focus on the families, especially the children, who are in situations that deny them access to basic needs and education.
While indeed the floodwaters in major areas of Metro Manila has subsided, low-lying areas of the national capital, the Bulacan, Pampanga, and Tarlac provinces, as well as Rizal and Laguna provinces remain underwater.
This concern has been raised by the Save the Children, an international non-government organization that is working with children and their communities.
It estimates that these floodwaters are affecting 4.2 million people more than half of which are children.
āEven with reports that families have started going back to their homes, more than 212,000 people remain in 656 evacuation centers with limited access to safe and potable water, non-food items, sanitation facilities, and healthcare. Coastal areas, particularly those surrounding Laguna de Bay, may remain flooded for up to three months,ā the Save the Children reported.
This on top of the forecast that there will still be around 12 major weather disturbances that will hit the country within the year. It is not far from possible that more communities, majority of the members of which are children, will be further affected; forced to live in cramped evacuation centers that lack the basic sanitary facilities.
We only need to look out our window to realize that the weather has not yet improved. Again, it is not far from impossible that the floodplains of Maguindanao will be likewise affected, if it hasnāt yet been.
Let us remember these as we return to our routine work; the long weekend over, the search for Secretary Robredo as well.
It is time to buckle down to work not just to help those affected but also to improve on what the recent floodings have revealed ? like that first of all, hospitals have to be redesigned or at the very least re-arranged so that it becomes less vulnerable to disasters; and that public school campuses by this time should be equipped with more toilets not just to ensure a sanitary environment for the children but also recognizing the fact that in every disaster, the schoolhouses have become the evacuation centers. These are but two of the tasks at hand, there are more.
Let us all roll up our sleeves and work on what has long been espoused disaster risk reduction and management. We have not yet seen the worse.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 23, 2012.