MANILA, Philippines – If knowing what threats are ahead leads to better strategies, then how can local governments prepare for disasters they do not know or have not experienced?

For 4 communities, this should no longer be a problem.

During the Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment Training, the Local Government Academy’s (LGA) pilot communities learned about the latest findings on climate threats and how they can improve their existing plans to meet the new challenges. The activity was held from October 10 to 14, in line with Local Government Week.

The communities—Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Northern Samar, Davao Occidental—attended a series of lectures on climate change, natural hazards, and risk analysis and assessment. Scientists from the Manila Observatory were also able to present their findings on threats in urban areas like Metro Manila, and discussed how the participants can use their research in their own areas.

On Day 4, the participants visited the Manila Observatory to learn more about the institution, its work, and the equipment they used. Representatives of the provinces had a workshop to put together lessons from the previous days and develop a risk map and impact chain. They then presented this output on the final day.

All 4 provinces have a combination of urban, partially urban, and rural areas that are all vulnerable to natural disasters like storms and earthquakes. Some face multiple environmental hazards.

Bracing for more frequent and intense disasters

In 2015, Typhoon Melor (Nona) struck parts of Samar Island, including Northern Samar. Parts of Negros Island are also vulnerable to storm surges, and Kanlaon Volcano continues to pose a threat to residents of both provinces. Meanwhile, earthquakes frequently rock Davao Occidental.

Accelerated urbanization and climate change will create even more headaches for these provinces, and other local governments.

In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) wreaked havoc in Eastern Visayas and left many communities almost helpless. Even worse is the finding that 5 of the 10 deadliest typhoons were from 2006 onwards.

Scientists predict it will only get worse if current trends hold.

To give them a better chance against new threats, the LGA partnered with the Spanish government on the project Strengthening the Capacities of Philippine Local Governments in Disaster Risk Reduction (SCPLG-DRR).

The two institutions are targeting local governments and communities by focusing on:

  • Effective disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation planning
  • Equipment and skills to withstand the impact of future disasters
  • Disaster response and relief operations

To view more photos, click here.

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