• ‘Zero casualty’ government’s goal as Disaster Preparedness Week begins

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    “Zero casualty” is the government’s main goal as Disaster Preparedness Week starts Monday.

    Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas presides a command conference at Camp Crame to unify efforts of various government agencies and stakeholders to ease the impact of hazards and hold the casualty toll down to zero during disasters.

    The conference marks a significant step in putting on firm footing community-based disaster risk reduction and management planning using the help of science, Roxas said.

    The week’s activities underscore the importance of being prepared and taking action to strengthen risk management with local partners and citizens’ organizations, he said.

    “It pays to be prepared. That’s why we need to harmonize the plans of various government agencies to prevent casualties, especially now that the rainy season is approaching,” Roxas said.

    According to Renato Brion, regional director of the Department of Interior and Local Government in the National Capital Region, 15,773 squatter families live on or along six major waterways in Metro Manila that are most vulnerable to floods.

    The 7.3-km San Juan River, a major tributary of the Pasig River system, has the highest number of squatter families at 4,567.  Tripa de Gallina, a narrow waterway that runs through Pasay, Paranaque and Manila, has 3,684 and Tullahan River, a 15-km system that flows through the cities of Malabon and Valenzuela, has 3,683.

    Manggahan Floodway, an artificial waterway built in 1986 to ease flooding along the Pasig River, is home to 1,889 squatter families. The two other waterways in the DILG list are the Pasig River and Maricaban Creek with 1,484 and 516 ISFs respectively. The Pasig is a 15-km river that connects Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay.

    The government has a three-year program to move squatter families to new on-site, in-city or near-site relocation areas. At least 60,000 such families are expected to benefit from the program by mid-2016.

    Brion said the week’s highlights as the flood drills, which will be conducted in 16 barangays along the six waterways, and the orientation and consultation meetings with 11 cities  in Metro Manila to review their risk reduction and management programs as well as contingency plans and hazard maps evacuation plans.

    The municipalities are Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Manila, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon, Pasig, Pasay, Makati and Taguig.

    JING VILLAMENTE

     

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