Thursday, July 24, 2014

Philippine Province Proves Mass Storm Deaths Can Be Avoided

A worker clears debris on a bridge destroyed during the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun, (locally named Glenda) in Batangas city south of Manila, July 17, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Erik de Castro) Click to enlarge.
Nearly 100 people were killed in the Philippines last week when Typhoon Rammasun roared through, raising doubts about efforts to end the heavy tolls from storms that are only expected to get more intense as the global climate changes.

But in Albay province, which bore the brunt of the strongest storm in the new typhoon season, no one was killed, proving that deaths can be prevented provided there is the will to force people to do what is necessary to save their own lives.

"Tools of leadership are lacking," Joey Salceda, the three-term governor of Albay told Reuters when asked about the tally of casualties in other provinces.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, and recently they have been getting stronger.  Meteorologists say that as ocean temperatures rise, storms will get more dangerous.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction designated Albay a role model for disaster risk reduction in 2012, highlighting its massive communications campaign in preventing casualties.

Salceda agreed that getting word out, through every channel available, was vital.

Albay passed a law in 1994 creating a disaster management office with permanent staff and its own budget to sustain its mandate despite inevitable changes of political leaders. The province has seen storm deaths in only two of the 20 years since then, Salceda said.

Philippine Province Proves Mass Storm Deaths Can Be Avoided

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