Measures sought vs. damage during typhoons

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Edu Punay – The Filipino Star

January 10, 2022 | 00h00

MANILA, Philippines – A House leader is pushing for measures that will prevent massive damage during strong typhoons following the devastation caused by Typhoon Odette.

Vice President Loren Legarda said the development of mangrove greenbelt in coastal communities would prevent a repeat of the devastation caused by powerful typhoons.

Legarda said planting and rehabilitating mangroves along the shores of vulnerable coastal communities would serve as a natural buffer against storm surges, flooding, erosion and other climate risks.

“We have long understood how nature works and we are learning once again from the experience of Typhoons Odette and Yolanda. In natural environments, mangroves have effectively protected our most vulnerable communities, reducing storm surges and cushioning waves in the first few hundred meters of forest, ”she said.

The Antique representative added that a mangrove green belt several hundred meters wide “can play a critical role in reducing wind or swell waves, thereby reducing erosion, flooding and sea surges. storm and preventing loss of life and property damage “.

Legarda noted that during the Odette assault, which brought torrential rains, high winds and storm surges to Surigao del Norte and Dinagat, the central Visayan provinces and the island of Palawan, the coastal municipality from Del Carmen to Siargao was miraculously spared from the storm surges. because it is home to 4,871 hectares of mangroves, the largest such forest in the Philippines.

On the other hand, during Typhoon Yolanda, the deadliest storm in the world in 2013, the Barangay Parina in Giporlos, Eastern Samar was also rescued from storm surges by its nine hectare mangrove forests.

Legarda said the forest served as a protective cover for the community when water poured inland. On the other hand, Bacjao, a neighboring barangay but located outside the mangrove area, was completely destroyed.

As chair of the Senate finance and climate change committees in 2016, Legarda lobbied for prioritization and allocation of funds under the National Greening Program for Mangrove Reforestation.

She said there remained a need for a comprehensive and integrated mangrove policy that could support sustainable, nature-based climate adaptation measures to protect vulnerable communities and their livelihoods from the devastating effects of climate change. extreme weather conditions and disasters.

Legarda also called on the Commission on Climate Change, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Local Government and other national and local government agencies to follow a ‘Build with Nature’ approach. »To develop and implement coastal defense measures based on ecosystems. alongside existing risk reduction measures.


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