Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Provincial government gets on another DRR mission

SORSOGON CITY, Jan 30 (PIA Sorsogon) – The  Disaster Preparedness European Commission on Humanitarian Aid (DIPECHO), together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are gearing up for the realization of a Local Flood Early Warning System (LFEWS) programme in the Province of Sorsogon, particularly for the Municipalities of Juban and Irosin.

The most important goal of such mission is to rally round these two towns and establish locally sustainable LFEWS where it would serve as preventive measures against losing lives and damages to assets and livelihood in their prone areas.

Looking back, Juban and Irosin were two of the top-listed “multiple hazard” locales in the province owing it to expected flashflood and landslide episodes during intense rainfall. Besides, these towns also deeply experienced the impacts of Bulusan Volcano’s past activities.

Imminently, the task will focus on getting to the bottom of the tight spot along the Irosin-Juban Valley where Cadacan River’s domino effect is shared by the two local government units

In a previous letter to Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee, Olaf Neussner of the GIZ called for a combined meeting to briefly discuss the situation in Irosin and Juban in terms of flooding and rain-induced landslides, number of households constantly affected by inundations, priority areas for flood warning systems and other information relevant to LFLEWS.

A spot assessment was conducted along with key persons from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), as well as the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO); with Gemma Ocon (GIZ), LGU and concerned stakeholders.

Launching an LFEWS can be described in a five-step process. The steps are not all technical in nature but also consist of legal, administrative and social processes. It is also significant to note that LFEWS is a flexible system and once systematic and standardized processes are in position, these can be continuously adjusted as trends on hazards and vulnerabilities are modified:

·         Secure political consent of local governments and social acceptance at community level (dialogues and consultations; coordination with relevant national agencies and local offices; and forging of memorandum of agreement with concerned LGUs)

·         Conduct Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment (disaster history; hazard assessment; risk perception; vulnerability and capacity assessment; and traditional coping mechanisms) *already acted in accordance with Planning and integration of LFEWS to existing plans and structures (agreement on warning levels and communication protocols; formulation of the disaster preparedness plan; local government adoption of disaster preparedness plan and integration to existing comprehensive development plan; LFEWS integration to annual investment plan; institutional set-up; training; and formulation of monitoring and evaluation tools)

·         Hardware calibration and installation (calibration of monitors and communication equipment; dry run and drills; post-event validation / re-calibration of monitors and communication equipment; and continuing refinement of protocols)

·         Implementation (functioning operations center; 24/7 disaster monitoring; systems maintenance; coordination; resource generation; and re-training)

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) was set up in 1992 to provide rapid and effective support to the victims of crises outside the European Union. Recognizing the importance of pre-emptive measures, ECHO launched its disaster preparedness programme, DIPECHO, in 1996.

Vulnerable communities living in the main disaster-prone regions of the world are ECHO's disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) targets. These are intended to demonstrate that simple and inexpensive preparatory measures, particularly those implemented by communities themselves, can be effective in limiting damage and saving lives when disaster strikes.

Typically, DIPECHO-funded projects cover training, capacity-building, awareness-raising, early-warning, and planning and forecasting measures, with the funds being channeled through aid agencies and NGOs working in the regions concerned. ECHO selects projects for funding on the basis of their potential to achieve concrete results and their ability to spread knowledge on disaster preparedness and generate learning.

DIPECHO projects are designed as pilots within their region, their impact being multiplied when the strategies they advocate are integrated into long term development projects, whether by the development services of the European Commission, national governments or other development partners.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on the other hand, is an international enterprise owned by the German Federal Government, operating in many fields across more than 130 countries. It primarily works for public-sector organizations.

The GIZ provides services in the following areas of sustainable development: Economic development and employment (including services such as vocational training, economic policy advice, financial systems development or private sector promotion); Government, democracy and poverty reduction (including services and working fields such as development-oriented emergency aid, peace building and crisis prevention, governance, sustainable urban development or structural poverty reduction); Education, health and social security (including working fields such as education, development-oriented drug control, promotion of children and young people or HIV/AIDS prevention); Environment and infrastructure (including activities such as waste, energy and water management, natural resource management, transport and mobility, implementing international environmental regimes or environmental policy, climate change-related capacity building); Agriculture, fisheries and food (including services such as coastal zone management, land management, market-oriented farming and food systems, policy advice on agriculture and rural development or securing livelihoods in marginal rural areas).

GIZ works on a public-benefit basis. All surpluses generated are channeled back into its own international cooperation projects for sustainable development.

Incessantly, the Provincial Government, has been keen in institutionalizing R.A. 10121 (DRRM Act of 2010) as a result of Sorsogon’s susceptibility to various types of hazards. “Name it, we got it,” former governor Sally Ante Lee would always articulate in her account of past scenarios related to disasters in the province. Lucratively, as Sorsogon’s ex-chief executive, she has established linkages with scores of organizations and addressed the issues significantly through a range of DRRM programmes.

In his incumbency, Governor Raul R. Lee looks at all disaster preparedness and response activities as an opportunity for extensive livelihood programmes in Sorsogon. In a previous meeting with NGOs, he stated his confidence that the Provincial Government is in any case organized in its initiatives in so far as the existing needs are concerned, but was anxious on the critical circumstances affecting the entire locality being a multi-hazard province. (Von Andre E. Labalan SOR-PIO/PIA Sorsogon)

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