Disaster response: Region 6 LGUs ill-equipped?

first_imgILOILO City – The recent typhoon“Ursula” showed which local government units (LGUs) were prepared to respond tonatural disasters and which were ill-equipped, according to Director JoseRoberto Nuñez of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas. “Meronpalang problema doon sa taas. Ganito ang sitwasyon ng bundok ng Batad. Sa mga ganito,kailangan ng communication and equipment,” said Nuñez during a recentmeeting of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council(RDRRMC). Nuñez suggested that LGUs invest indisaster response equipment. OCD would be checking each LGU’sdisaster risk reduction and management plans. Nuñez said he won’t approve plans ofLGUs which have not invested in disaster response equipment. All LGUs must make their areasresilient to disasters and the first step is make sure they have the capabilityto respond to disasters such as flooding and landslides, among others, hestressed. The equipment LGUs have to invest inshould depend on the kind or type of hazard that poses risk to their areas, hestressed. “Dapatmeron tayong action plan, contingency bawat LGU,” said Nuñez. He cited as example the municipalityof Batad in Iloilo province where a family of six fleeing “Ursula” was sweptaway by raging floodwater when the typhoon struck on Christmas Day. For her part, Director Ro-Ann Bacal ofthe National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in Western Visayas urgedLGUs to identify “critical areas” where the resources of the nationalgovernment are necessary. RDRRMC also counted 226,268 damagedhouses in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo. “There will be a checklist,” saidNuñez. The OCD director acknowledged that hehad no authority to sanction LGUs that fail to invest in disaster responseequipment thus he is leaving it to the Department of the Interior and LocalGovernment to take action. “We have trained personnel. They couldnot just invest in equipment without the properly trained personnel,” saidNuñez. Three provinces of Western Visayasincurred millions of pesos of damage from “Ursula.” Consolidated data from the RDRRMCshowed “Ursula” displaced 338,335 families (1,461,165 persons) in WesternVisayas. Three provinces, one city and 23 municipalities declared a state ofcalamity. “We need to go where the attentionneeds to be hastened. With the report of the provinces, we hope you can guide uswhere the critical areas are so we can also plan out where we will be able toassist the LGU,” she said. For those prone to flooding, theycould invest in search and rescue equipment. The agri-fishery sector initiallyestimated losses at P1.387 billion while the Department of Public Works andHighways estimated the damage to infrastructure at P48.9 million./PNlast_img read more