An international perspective
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
International humanitarian and development agency Oxfam has cited the Philippines, along with Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia as one of the countries in Asia most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
In a report titled “Can’t Afford to Wait”, Oxfam urges the Philippines to invest more in protecting its citizens against the effects of climate change to protect its communities that are vulnerable to disasters. It admonishes the vulnerable countries mentioned in the report for not investing enough to protect their citizens despite the region’s vulnerability to disasters and warns those countries they could suffer double the global average losses of gross domestic product by century’s end if measures are not put in place.
The report also stated that disaster risk reduction measures, such as support for diversified agricultural activities and robust evacuations systems at resettlement sites are still lacking across many municipalities, particularly in areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda one year ago.
Oxfam says close to a million people continue to live in inadequate shelters and are struggling to find the resources to resume their livelihoods one year after Typhoon Yolanda devastated the Philippines and in a separate report, called on the national government to comprehensively address remaining humanitarian needs while delivering a scaled up, pro-poor recovery agenda.
Our government not only has to cope with the enormous challenge of “building back better”, it also has to do it with the sobering awareness that increasingly powerful storms are becoming the new normal. This means rebuilding the devastated communities with typhoons of Yolanda’s power on top of mind as well as providing additional protection to all the other vulnerable communities along our country’s extensive coastline; all while doing things as quickly as possible to avoid being criticized as not being responsive enough.
There will always be the fair share of criticism and unsolicited advice for anything as big as a country’s attempt to recover from one of the biggest and most destructive storms in recorded history. The challenge for those who are actually working tirelessly in the field is picking which voices to listen to and which ones to ignore. This is where input from international organizations that have no interest in local or national politics becomes valuable and it would be in the best interests of everybody involved to listen to these voices when the noise threatens to distract us from our intended goals.*