AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS COMMUNITY- BASED DISASTER DISK MANAGEMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES
Two Australian-supported initiatives have forged a partnership to help reduce the risks of natural disasters in the Philippines.
The Philippine National Red Cross’ (PNRC) Project 143 and the National Disaster Coordinating Council’s (NDCC) READY Project have signed on to a landmark partnership – a first between the Philippine Government and the country’s largest humanitarian organisation – to strengthen community-based disaster risk management in the Philippines.
(L-R) National Disaster Coordinating Council Executive Officer General Glenn Rabonza, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith, Iloilo Governor Neil Tupas, Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Senator Richard Gordon, UN Development Programme Country Director Renaud Meyer, PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum and PAGASA Director Prico Nilo during the signing in Iloilo City of the memorandum of agreement between the PNRC’s Project 143 and NDCC’s READY Project to enhance and strengthen community-based disaster risk management in the Philippines.
In a recent visit to Iloilo City, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith witnessed the signing of a memorandum of agreement between PNRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon and NDCC Executive Officer General Glenn Rabonza for strengthened cooperation of the two agencies on disaster risk reduction. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Renaud Meyer and Iloilo Governor Neil Tupas were also present at the activity. UNDP is the implementing agency of the READY Project.
“As a regional neighbour and key development partner, Australia is helping improve the Philippines’ capacity to manage natural hazards and respond to emergencies. Both our governments recognise the need for coordinated action in disaster risk management in the Philippines,” Ambassador Smith said.
The Australian Government through its international development agency AusAID provided approximately Php90 million to the READY Project and Php 30 million to the PNRC’s Project 143.
“We are pleased that Australian support to and partnership with the PNRC and the NDCC has encouraged the two agencies to work more closely together for a more coherent and cohesive way of addressing the many challenges that the Philippines faces. The Philippines may be vulnerable to many hazards such as cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis, but by working together, we can reduce the risk these phenomena pose,” Ambassador Smith said.
The READY Project’s task is to collect baseline data in high risk provinces in the Philippines, use this data to produce hazard maps, and develop tools to help local government address natural hazards. PNRC’s Project 143, on the other hand, through its community training program, ensures that READY hazard maps will be used by the target communities to develop local level disaster management plans.
“Multi-hazard maps produced by READY can help determine where to put houses, schools and hospitals so that they will not be in harm’s way. Training from PNRC Project 143 can help to prepare as a community for natural disasters,” Ambassador Smith said.
The READY project is supporting the ongoing mapping of potential hazards in Iloilo. The 1:10,000 flood map of the province was completed last year and is expected to be an important guide to the ongoing rehabilitation efforts after Typhoon Frank.
Ambassador Smith and Senator Gordon also visited humanitarian projects in Iloilo where Australian assistance has provided essential relief and shelter in response to Typhoon Frank that devastated the province in June 2008.
The Australian Government has supported the Philippines on disaster related activities including strengthening community-based disaster management and provided almost Php 100 million in humanitarian and emergency assistance in response to natural disasters in the country since 2006.