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Germany grants P6M disaster funds for Albay coastal folk

Source | GMANews.TV
The German government has provided the Philippines with around €90,000 or about P6 million to fund a disaster-prevention project in 15 coastal communities in Albay, one of provinces in the country hit hardest by typhoons in recent years. Funding will be coursed through Kindernothilfe e.V. (KNH), a German organization that provides aid to needy children, the German Embassy in Manila said in a statement on its website. The 15-month long project, which is expected to end in December 2011, targets communities in Manito, Rapu-Rapu and Bacacay — among the Albay municipalities most vulnerable to typhoons. An average of 20 tropical cyclones visit the country every year, with about half of it making landfall mostly along the country’s eastern seaboard facing the Pacific Ocean—which includes the Bicol region where Albay is located. The disaster-prevention project aims to establish an early warning system to improve the residents’ disaster readiness. Among project activities, community residents and leaders will be provided with training sessions on disaster prevention, participate in emergency drills and receive emergency equipment. While Albay does not count among the country’s 10 poorest provinces, almost half of its people are poor, and poverty in the province’s coastal villages is worsened by its vulnerability to flooding during typhoons. Community preparedness The German-funded project fits well into building disaster preparedness at the community level — a framework that non-government organizations (NGO) have long been advocating. Over the past year, NGOs like the international humanitarian organization Oxfam and the Philippine-based Citizens Disaster Response Center have been training provincial and local governments, and even barangays, to come up with their own disaster preparedness plans. In an article reporting on disaster preparedness a year after the typhoon Ondoy tragedy, CDRC Deputy Executive Director Carlos Padolina noted some simple ways for communities to prepare for disaster.

Puwede sila mag-institute ng sariling warning system — ang mga improvised na mga measurement ng kung gaano na kabilis umaakyat o tumataas ang tubig sa kanilang tubig ilog, para makikita nila, at sila rin mismo, makakagawa sila ng paraan para magevacuate,” he explained. (They can institute their own warning systems and improvise ways to measure how fast the water is rising in their rivers. This way, they can see the situation themselves, and they can come up with ways to evacuate.) National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Officer Benito Ramos has also echoed the need for communities to take responsibility for protecting themselves, enumerating the many ways that people can prepare at the community level. “Ultimately, every community can become safer through regularly dredging or cleaning of clogged rivers, waterways, drainage systems, upkeep of pumping stations, stockpiling of relief goods; pre-positioning of relief and disaster equipment; inventory and preparation of equipment for emergencies/disasters; upgrading of operations/coordination centers; improvement of alert and warning information systems,” Ramos said. Last May, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo passed the 2010 Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, a landmark law that intends to re-focus government resources, efforts, and organizational structure on disaster preparedness rather than emergency response. (See: One year after Ondoy, many still living in danger zones) KNH was founded in1959 by a group of dedicated Christians in Duisburg, Germany, in order to help needy children in India. KNH aims to give needy children in the poorest countries of the world a good head start by supporting schooling and vocational training, good nutrition and health care, as well as providing community-oriented support to the children’s families. Over time, it grew into one of Europe’s largest Christian organizations for children’s aid. Today it supports more than 300,000 children and young people in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. KNH has projects in the rural and upland areas of Mindanao, Eastern Visayas and Bicol, some of the country’s poorest provinces.—DM/JV, GMANews.TV

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