Tell it to SunStar: Central Visayas has low level of disaster resilience

HOUSEHOLDS in Philippine regions reporting higher levels of post-disaster assistance also noted having higher levels of resilience to disasters, data from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) Program on Resilient Communities (PRC) 2017 nationwide household survey reveals.

When the self-reported survey responses on the component measures for resilience (preparedness, adaptability, coping and recovery) are summed up, Western Visayas had the highest level of resilience, followed by Ilocos, Eastern Visayas, Mimaropa, Bicol, Caraga, and Cagayan Valley and Davao.

Zamboanga Peninsula, on the other hand, reported the lowest levels of disaster resilience, followed by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Central Visayas.

Strikingly, regions with a higher level of resilience are the same areas with most of its population who said they had received assistance after a disaster. Eastern Visayas, the region that was severely hit by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013, had the highest number of residents who received post-disaster assistance (92 percent). It was followed by Western Visayas (88 percent), Bicol (87 percent), Ilocos (83 percent), Caraga (75 percent), Calabarzon (65 percent) which was only 12th in terms of self-reported resilience, and Cagayan Valley (70 percent). Davao was at 11th spot with more than half of its households (56 percent) claiming to have received post-disaster aid.

Similarly, Zamboanga Peninsula (26 percent) and ARMM (37 percent) had the least number of residents who received post-disaster assistance along with Northern Mindanao (50 percent).

“It is interesting to see that regions reporting higher levels of post-disaster assistance also report higher levels of disaster resilience. This begs the question of why this is the case and merits closer investigation,” HHI PRC Program Director Vincenzo Bollettino said.

The sum of component measures of resilience calculated by HHI PRC may not be statistically robust measures, but they do provide a rough index of the four aspects of resilience to help identify broad regional differences.

On the national level, a substantial part of the population received assistance following a disaster (63 percent). For those that did receive assistance, it came in the form of food and water (57 percent), emergency shelter (five percent), emergency medicine (eight percent), temporary employment or cash (four percent), or livelihood assistance (four percent).

Only a small portion of the population received housing and relocation assistance.

Filipinos’ top source of assistance in the wake of a disaster was their respective local government units (LGUs), with 82 percent reporting to have received assistance from their LGU. They also claimed to have received limited support from relatives, colleagues, community, media, local and international non-government organizations, and national government.

HHI PRC defines disaster resilience as a measure of a society’s ability to withstand shocks and recover from these shocks in a timely manner, leaving the society better prepared for future shocks. It is also a measure of a population’s ability to adapt to changes in the environment and to the types of risks they face. (Harvard University)


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