BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD-CAR) here disclosed the recorded zero deaths and only two injuries during the onslaught of natural calamities last year and zero casualties reported when four typhoons visited the country for the first six months of this year are considered to be the major gains of the effective and efficient implementation of disaster risk reduction and management regionwide.
Andrew Alex Uy, OCD-CAR regional director, said the vibrant implementation of disaster risk reduction and management programs down to the barangay level coupled with the massive information and education campaign on the presence of hazardous areas in different localities have created awareness among the public on the importance of disaster risk reduction and disaster resilience.
“ The two injuries that were recorded in the region were brought about by the need of the fishermen to go to look for livelihood amidst the heavy rains and strong winds induced by the typhoon last year,” Uy stressed.
The OCD-CAR official underscored the implementation of disaster risk reduction and management initiatives in the grassroots level have made people in the remote communities proactive in dealing with the occurrence of natural calamities instead of the usual reactive to typhoons which usually visit the region this time of the year.
Further, Uy revealed local governments also learned to prioritize their disaster risk reduction and management interventions and the purchase of the appropriate units of equipment needed in responding to various types of calamities that will trike their areas of jurisdiction anytime.
While it is true that zero casualties is an ambitious goal, he cited the cooperation of the local residents to the appropriate interventions crafted by trained disaster risk reduction and management planners would greatly help in achieving the overall goal in the future.
Uy cited there was a steady decline of casualties and injuries as a result of natural calamities over the past several years until it reached zero deaths in the region last year that is why there is a need for the continuous and intensified campaign in the grassroots level to inform them of their duties and responsibilities as local governments and concerned government agencies are also doing their part of the holistic approach to improve disaster management.
According to him, the achievement of zero deaths in a region that has been identified to be geologically hazardous considering its mountainous terrain is unlikely but through the consolidated efforts of all stakeholders, zero casualties was realized and it will serve as an achievement that would be replicated in the coming months where numerous typhoons are expected to strike the region and contribute to human-induced calamities which are damaging to lives and properties.
Director Uy asserted another important factor in the attainment of zero deaths in the region is the improved communication network considering that almost 90 percent of the Cordillera have access to the necessary signals of cellphones allowing the people to be able to be updated on the current paths of typhoons that would also guide them in making their next moves whether or not to vacate their identified geohazard communities among others.