By Mart D. Sambalud
Tagum City – Reacting on the devastation that Typhoon Yolanda brought to Visayas, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario admitted disaster response in this province is “not sufficient” to face disasters of such magnitude.
Speaking to reporters at the regular Tagum Biz Talk on Wednesday, del Rosario admitted disaster reduction programs, especially in his province, have been limited to evacuating and assisting residents but with limited knowledge on why disasters happen with such impact.
“Our province is only focused on disaster reduction but we are clueless of what is causing climate change,” he said.
He said one lesson learned from Yolanda was people were not given information on what a storm surge was.
An interview by CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper with a survivor said they had no idea what a storm surge was, but added that if they were told it would be like a tsunami, they would have done things differently.
“Ang pinakamahirap (what’s difficult is) when you let the people adapt to something that they don’t understand,” del Rosario commented on this.
Del Rosario said studying the effects of climate change is now crucial in disaster risk reduction and management.
“Studying the phenomenon will help us understand it (climate change) better so that we can integrate the concept of climate change to our disaster risk reduction program so that we will be resilient,” he explained.
Del Rosario said he wants local municipalities to take up a “climate adaptation” program in their disaster preparedness, as part of the province’s Oplan ANDAM (Advocacy on Natural Disasters Awareness and Management).
“We are prepared to typhoons but we are not prepared to adopt climate change and that’s what I want to look on. Studying the phenomenon will help us understand it (climate change) better so that we can integrate the concept of climate change to our disaster risk reduction program so that we will be resilient,” the governor said.
He added that local chief executives must strengthen their capacity to conduct disaster preparedness and for citizens to take pro-active responsive to heed warnings to avoid casualties in times of disasters.
He stressed this as Davao del Norte province is prone to both natural disasters and geo-hazard risks.
Last Tuesday’s Typhoon Zoraida, which hit Mindanao provinces including Davao region, Davao del Norte had its share of evacuees due to overflowing rivers.
In Tagum city, waist-deep flood water affected 462 Families from Barangays Pandapan, San Miguel, Pagsabangan, Cuambogan, Busaon, Apokon, Canocotan, Bincungan, Magdum, Mankilam, San Miguel.