Editorial | Investing in risk reduction before disaster strikes

PREVENTION and preparedness should be household terms by now, especially as we have experienced extreme weather changes over the past years.

We have been through floods, earthquakes and heavy rains, natural disasters that we cannot humanly stop. We can, however, mitigate the impact on people’s suffering and loss.
Disaster risk reduction is the way to go coupled by resilience that should be instilled at the household level. This is the painful reality of our times.
The United Nations Development Program has urged governments to invest in prevention and preparedness, including civil defense exercises as “a necessary part of systematic efforts to increase resilience to disaster.”
It identifies five priorities, which are: 1) to ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority; 2) to identify, assess, and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning systems; 3) to use knowledge, innovation, and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels; 4) to reduce the underlying risk factors; and 5) to strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response and recovery at all levels, from the local to the national.
Today, the city will have a shakeout drill which will fittingly close the observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month. The disaster drill will assess the responses of the barangays, from alarm mechanism, first aid, and evacuation. This gives the local government unit the muscle memory on disaster response building on the experience they had on previous drills.
Everyone, even young children, should know what to do when disaster strikes. This means that families should have their own disaster management plan. Schools and other institutions have to consistently conduct drill exercises to mitigate the effects of any calamity.
As part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, and with the rapid melting of the polar ice caps, we need to make disaster risk reduction at the top of our priority. And government has to invest now or suffer innumerable loss, when a huge disaster strikes.

Posted in Opinion