Press Release
October 18, 2013

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)

UNISDR Champion, Senator Loren Legarda today made an impassioned plea for stronger enforcement of building regulations as the death toll in the latest Philippines earthquake grew to 156 with an estimated three million people affected by landslides and continuing aftershocks.

Senator Legarda said: "We need safe schools and hospitals and it is clear from this disaster event that we do not always have them. I recommend that we engage in a country-wide risk evaluation of all our schools and hospitals as part of the UNISDR Safe Schools and Hospitals campaign so we can take immediate action to ensure that these important community assets are fully disaster-proof.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the casualty toll would have been much greater if it were not for the fact that many schools were shut because there was a national holiday. It is alarming that at least three hospitals in Cebu suffered major damage and that in one case patients and staff were trapped inside the building.

"We all know that the most expensive hospital is the one that collapses so we must make every effort in the future to ensure that earthquake-proof building regulations are enforced."

Three hospitals were damaged in Cebu where some people are unaccounted for under the rubble of a collapsed public hospital.

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