Cringing in the rain

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Friday, September 5, 2014

WE ARE in the ‘Ber months and we have started the countdown to Masskara, All Saints’ Day, and of course Christmas. And lest we forget the season for splurging, even the malls have started playing Christmas songs.

And lest we forget, we are also entering the height of typhoon season.

The costliest Philippine typhoons were Yolanda and Pablo that struck in November, Pepeng in October, Ondoy in September. Much earlier, we had Ruping in November of 1990.


The Philippines sit astride the typhoon belt. Bagyó is the common name
in many of our local languages in referring to any tropical cyclone.

There are four recognized climate types in the country, and are based on the distribution of rainfall.

Negros experiences two types of typhoons. For those Type I, the southern parts of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental have two pronounced seasons, dry from November to April, and wet during the rest of the year.

Maximum rain period is from June to September.

For those in Type III, Northern Negros Occidental has no very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season lasting only from one to three months, either during the period from December to February or from March to May. This climate type resembles type I since it has a short dry season.

In the era of climate change, perhaps we to add Type V. The Asian Development Bank Independent Evaluation Department warned of more frequent and heavier rains in the coming years with dangers to population seen to rise, unless concerned authorities take appropriate steps to prevent disasters and address effects of climate change.

The study was prepared by Vinod Thomas of IE-ADB; José Ramón Albert of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies; and Cameron Hepburn of Oxford University and the London School of Economics.

The paper cited the greater vulnerability of people to growing dangers arising from harsh weather conditions. “This paper’s empirical evidence, on an association between the rising frequency of intense natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific countries and climate change, stresses the urgency for reducing human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Thomas added.

“Prevention is critically important and, therefore, preparedness and investments in disaster-risk reduction must be prioritized,” Thomas said. “(In the Philippines) disaster preparedness is underemphasized compared to disaster response.”

It’s like what the Americans would say, “Closing the barn doors after the cows have fled.” Reactive, instead of being pro-active.

In another study, the Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Major Economic Crises (Brace) recently released by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap), experts discussed strategies on how organizations and policymakers can address the twin threats of natural disasters and economic crises in an increasingly interconnected world.

Brace aims to strengthen community-based disaster-risk management and
support for vulnerable families living in hazard-prone areas. Yes, ‘tis not the time for singing in the rain but the time for preparations. Are we prepared for the next big ones? If not, we can expect much cringing in the rain.



Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 05, 2014.


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