Press Release
January 16, 2010

With RP prone to natural calamities

In light of the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti, Senator Loren Legarda emphasized that early action on disaster risk reduction is key to preventing severe loss of life due to natural calamities.

"If there is something we should learn from the Haiti tragedy, it is that the Philippines, in particular, Manila, faces similar threats. We need to be constantly on guard and vigilant," she said.

According to the Earthquake Impact Reduction Study of Metro Manila (MMEIRS) conducted in 2003, the Philippines faces more threats than most countries, as highlighted by the Mayon episode in December, and the Ondoy and Pepeng in September. The same study showed how vulnerable the cities of Metro Manila to a 7.2. magnitude earthquake.

"As reported by Phivolcs Director Rene Solidum, a big one is due. It is certain that a strong earthquake will occur -- a fact as real as the presence of major earthquake faults in Metro Manila. The only question that remains is -- When will it strike and how prepared are we to respond and cope?" said Legarda, United Nations Regional Champion on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia and the Pacific.

"But what we should remember is that we are not totally helpless in the face of these disaster. In many cases, these losses can be reduced. We need to be very clear also that it is in our power to control many of the factors that lead to disasters - not, of course, the hazard events themselves like earthquakes - but certainly the human elements, such as how we manage our lands, where we develop our cities, and how we build our houses," she said.

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