To stress the importance of disaster preparedness in the country, the European Union (EU) finances and conducts a series of programs in various places Bicol this month.
The disaster preparedness activities kicked off on October 1 when EU together with Care Netherlands implemented an evacuation drill in Canaman in Camarines Sur. Canaman is one of the most vulnerable and disaster-prone barangays among the provinces of Bicol.
On the following day, a regional forum on “Replicating Effective Disaster Risk Reduction Practices in Camarines Sur” also took place in Naga. It gathered some 100 practitioners from high–risk communities from the Bicol region.
European Ambassador Guy Ledoux then visited a mangrove plantation in Barangay Cagsao in Calabanga. Mangrove plantations contribute to mitigate the effects of typhoons by reducing the floods and protecting the coastal area.
The approach introduced by Care Netherlands involves the harnessing of all the functions of the ecosystems. Though it does not distinguish administrative boundaries, it still looks into the interconnection of the parts of the ecosystem and integrates them in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
During the envoy’s visit, Ledoux emphasized, “Disaster preparedness does unfortunately not attract much attention of the media while it is of such crucial importance to reduce the number of victims of natural disaster that regularly affect the Philippines.”
For 2012 to 2013, the European Union provided P90 million grants for disaster preparedness programs to the consortium of NGOs including Care Nederlands, Action Contre la Faim, Plan International, Oxfam, Christian Aid and Handicap International working with Office of Civil Defense of Bicol Region.
The EU disaster preparedness program aims at improving the capacities of at-risk communities to prepare for and protect themselves from natural disasters.