Press Release
August 7, 2012

Legarda: Constant vigilance needed amid torrential rains,
increasing weather uncertainty

Senator Loren Legarda today called for constant vigilance among government authorities, communities and citizens as floods cover many parts of Luzon and Visayas, and water levels of some rivers and major dams exceeded the warning mark due to torrential rains.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that everyone should be on heightened alert especially that with continuous rains, floodwaters rise swiftly and landslides are more likely to occur.

"Flood warnings, especially in areas affected by overflowing rivers and overspilling dams, should give enough time for communities to evacuate and take shelter. There must be a balance between information provision, dissemination, and understanding of the communities, coupled with preparedness and accountability," she said.

The Senator also urged citizens to be on full alert for severe floods and cooperate with national and local authorities by heeding warnings.

She also stressed that is important to reduce vulnerability over the longer term in order for communities to better cope with climate variability and uncertainty.

"During these times, early evacuation should be implemented to avoid citizens being trapped in their homes due to high floodwaters. But more than the short-term solutions, we must address the lingering problem of recurring floods every single time we experience heavy rains. We have early warning system for flood and evacuation but this is not enough. We need serious flood prevention and mitigation measures such as drainage and river clean-up, relocation of informal settlers along waterways, and effective solid waste management at local level," Legarda pointed out.

"While heavy and excessive rainfall is part of the 'new norm', we need not live with recurrent flooding that put lives at risk and disrupt our social and economic activities. Prevention is always better than cure. We must learn from our past experiences, practice enhanced disaster preparedness and response, and be proactive in reducing the risk of disasters," Legarda concluded.

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