What PH did differently in response to 'Glenda'

By David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 17 2014 08:52 PM | Updated as of Jul 18 2014 04:52 AM

Project NOAH chief says PH getting better in disaster response

MANILA - What did the Philippine government do differently in preparing for Typhoon Glenda (inernational codename Rammasun)?

Speaking on ANC's Headstart, Project NOAH executive director Mahar Lagmay said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council conducted pre-disaster risk assessment (PDRA) before the typhoon made landfall.

This means getting the cooperation of different agencies and building a scenario on what to expect of a certain event such as Typhoon Glenda.

"Days before, we were already discussing the science and the impacts that might happen. It is important that the forecasts are correct...[If] You don't have a good forecast, then everything else will fail. You must have good basis and it is not mere guesswork and government invested a lot of money in trying to make the forecasts accurate," he said.

Once the forecasts are done, the information is then passed on to the other units such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government and local government units so they can prepare for the event.

This can include preparations such as prepositioning rescue boats, drainage pumps and relief goods.

Undersecretary Alexander Pama of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council earlier said hazard maps have already been distributed to 27 provinces all over the country.

Lagmay said preparations for a typhoon should also be matched by the appropriate response from the people.

He said the lower death toll for Typhoon Glenda, currently at 40 deaths, is much lower compared to the 300 deaths after Typhoon Milenyo 8 years ago.

"If the reports are true, that we were able to put the casualty count at a very low level, I think that is a good figure but it is also important to note that one life lost is one too many," he said.

He also said the devastation brought by past typhoons such as Typhoon Yolanda last year could be making a more lasting impact upon Filipinos. More than 6,000 people were killed during Yolanda's onslaught last year.

"The hazards will always be there. They have always been there. The best that we can do is plan and prepare well. Disasters only happen when we are not smart enough to deal with the hazards but when we are smart, we make ourselves resilient and there will be no disasters," he said.

"I think we are getting better. Pain is the best teacher. We don't want to repeat the same mistakes from what happened before."