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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chiz to Government: Erect permanent evacuation centers


Sen. Chiz Escudero called on the government to establish permanent evacuation centers in areas affected regularly by natural calamities to minimize disruption of classes and ensure immediate availability of safe havens for disaster victims.


The government, through the National Disaster Coordinating Council, currently uses school buildings, multipurpose facilities, and churches as temporary evacuation centers.


"This leads to the disruption of children's education and even religious services for lengthy periods of time," the opposition senator said.


Escudero added the government needs to move now in light of the recent declaration by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAG-ASA) that this year's rainy season will likely arrive earlier than its usual onset in late May or early June.


"Permanent evacuation centers can also be used alternatively as health or social centers," he added.


The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons annually. From 1970-2005, damages from typhoons reached P61 billion. At least 5,000 families and 30,000 individuals, on average, are also affected yearly by these typhoons.


In a report, the World Bank said the country incurred direct damages amounting to P15 billion annually due to typhoons and other natural disasters from 1970 to 2000, and that this was equal to about 0.7 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year.


GDP is the total peso value of all goods and services produced domestically over a specific period of time in a given year and released on a quarterly basis.


 "We have to anticipate that there will be at least five devastating typhoons annually, and that these will affect the eastern seaboard, particularly the Bicol region, Region 8 and parts of Regions 2 and 4," Escudero said.

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