This new year, resolve to become a new type of resilient and prepare for natural disasters
Over the past two years, people have been developing their resilience – to coronavirus, burnout, and stressful global events. However, resilience to disasters can often be overlooked. A pandemic is only one kind of disaster. There are others that occur far more frequently, like floods, earthquakes, and landslides. Entire homes and communities are ravaged by these natural disasters, causing deaths and severe property damage. Learning to become disaster resilient can mitigate these devastating outcomes.
Typhoons assail the Philippines annually, peaking from July to October[i]. In 2022, The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) project that seven tropical cyclones will pass through the country[ii]. Every year, the Philippines averages 20 typhoons[iii], of which five are considered major. These cause severe floods, hundreds to thousands of deaths, and insurmountable damage. Typhoon Haiyan left 6,300 dead and destroyed over PHP 100 billion worth of property in 2013. Super Typhoon Rai caused 375 deaths and PHP 28 billion worth of agricultural and infrastructure damage in the provinces of Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Palawan last December 2021[iv].
December to May is considered the dry season[v], providing ample time to learn and apply the principles of disaster resilience before the arrival of the rainy season. Dr. Marqueza Reyes, faculty member of the Executive Master in Disaster Risk and Crisis Management program at the Stephen Zuellig School of Development Management, was recently interviewed by Probe Archives for an episode on disaster risk management, entitled Smarter About Disasters: Three Things You Ought to Know to Save Your Life from Natural Disasters. Preparedness is key to disaster resilience. Reyes states, “Acting timely doesn’t mean only what a person or community has to do during a disaster or shock itself, but more importantly, how they prepare before it happens.” Having a Go Bag for each member of your household is an easy and practical way to practice disaster resilience. A Go Bag is a portable kit containing essential items to survive the next 72 hours following an evacuation due to a disaster[vi].
Reyes, who is also a land-use planner, also mentions that zoning flood-prone areas and putting people out of harm’s way is part of the resilience solution. Disaster resilience hinges on being prepared to face situations out of one’s control, which is part of the ability of a community, system, or society that is exposed to a hazard to resist, absorb, adapt to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner including through the restoration of basic functions through risk management.
To learn more about disaster resilience, watch the entire Probe episode here.
As part of its curriculum, the Executive Master in Disaster Risk and Crisis Management degree trains students to integrate the multi-sectoral and inter-disciplinary aspects of disaster risk and crisis management and become leaders for disaster resilience. If you would like to learn more about the program, visit devatwork.aim.edu or send an email to email@example.com.
[i] “Tropical Cyclone Information”, PAG-ASA, n.d., https://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/climate/tropical-cyclone-information
[iii] “Information on Disaster Risk Reduction of the Member Countries”, Asian Disaster Reduction Center, n.d., https://www.adrc.asia/nationinformation.php?NationCode=608&Lang=en#:~:text=Located%20along%20the%20typhoon%20belt,frequent%20earthquakes%20and%20volcanic%20eruptions.
[iv] “Philippines: Super Typhoon Rai (Odette) – Situation Report No. 1 (As of 30 December 2021)”, OCHA Philippines, 30 Dec 2021, https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/philippines-super-typhoon-rai-odette-situation-report-no-1-30-december-2021#:~:text=It%20made%20nine%20landfalls%20between,to%20Typhoon%20Haiyan%20in%202013.
[v] “Climate of the Philippines,” PAG-ASA, n.d., https://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/information/climate-philippines#:~:text=Using%20temperature%20and%20rainfall%20as,season%2C%20from%20December%20to%20May.