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Province prone to disasters, says expert

The adviser of the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) pointed out that Negros Oriental is disaster-prone during the disaster preparedness and risk reduction lecture last Aug. 19 at the Silliman University Main Library Knowledge Development Center (SU-KDC).

“Disaster awareness is very important to Negrenses because the topography of the province is prone to natural calamities especially landslides,” Dr. Henry Sojor, adviser of the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) of Negros Oriental, said.

“[The province] is also highly susceptible to illness being a tropical country,[also] to storm surge and sea level rise, and typhoons and floods,” Sojor said.

Sojor added that from Dumaguete to Vallehermoso, domestic tsunami, which can originate from the local seas, may occur. While from Dauin to Basay, these municipalities are prone to international tsunami since it faces the Pacific Ocean.

According to Sojor, with the risks and threats that the province is facing, the provincial government is coming up with the Ridge to Reef Framework project, which sees all the aspects of the environment, from the mountains down to the seas, that could be affected by calamities but still can be prevented.

One of it is the mitigation measure which prevents the emission of greenhouse gases by increasing the forest covers through reforestation and “tree growing.”

“We have decided to change it to tree growing because every year we plant trees but only few grow and survive. So now, we want to plant a tree and take good care of it and make it grow in order for us to have a tangible result of our activity,” Sojor said.

Another action done by the provincial government which Sojor emphasized is the planting of mangroves. Aside from it protecting the people living near the seas and ocean, they also provide shelter to all the fishes.

Sojor highlighted the establishment of protection areas for critical ecosystem and different species of marine organisms since the province of Negros Oriental has Apo Island, one of the tourist spots of the province which cultures and protects marine organisms.

Other programs that the province is implementing for disaster risk reduction are promoting the use of organic fertilizer and reducing/stopping the use of pesticides; establishing tree parks; adopting a river program; having a solid waste management; installing local flood warning systems and trainings for the local government units in their prevention and management of disasters; and dredging rivers for lesser flood risks, coastal resource management.

Cheryl Mae P. Reyes, KDC librarian, said that the World Bank focused on disaster risk reduction because the country is experiencing a lot of disasters.

“With this activity, we help the students be aware of what we can do and how we can reduce the calamities induced by disasters,” she added.

The lecture was part of the 11th year anniversary celebration of World Bank.

By DM Lorena Narciso

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