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Cayetano warns of threats from rise in sea level to communities

Press Release
March 26, 2012

PASAY CITY  –  Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the government to address the absent or lack of preparation for climate change related calamities in areas where increases in sea levels pose immediate threats to communities.

He said tropical cyclones and flashfloods that killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Mindanao and the Visayas last year and previous calamities caused like typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng should serve as crucial lessons for the government to learn from.

Senator Cayetano was alarmed by the recent study of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that identifies the Philippines as the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. The country ranks 5th globally in terms of the number of people to be affected by sea level rise.

The ADB report titled “Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific” acknowledged that sea level rise is already seriously threatening communities with coastal flooding with most of them found in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Cayetano said as an archipelagic country, a large number of population live in coastal areas and most of them are poor families living in shanties.

“Efforts must be made to identify areas that are at serious risks on account of rise in sea level so adequate planning and preparations can be made,” he said.

The ADB report recommended that governments must invest heavily on improving urban infrastructure resilient to harsh calamities and basic services to people in times of these disasters such as health, water and sanitation and education for displaced schoolchildren.

“We can no longer afford to simply take risks when flashfloods and typhoons hit any part of our country. Our poor people are constantly helpless due to lack of government programs and strategies for their timely safe evacuation them to safer places,” said Cayetano.

He said donations and relief operations are short-term programs and do not address the main issues for mitigating the impact of climate change in the Philippines.

Watch related video: Ang Pinoy At Ang Hamon Ng Climate Change