Climate body seeks making schools more prepared for disasters

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The Climate Change Commission (CCC) is advocating measures to make schools nationwide better prepared against natural hazards.

CCC Commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera said schools and their respective local government units (LGUs) must conduct risk mapping and assessment activities to identify safe locations for these learning institutions.

“We’re geographically located in the planet where we’re vulnerable and exposed to natural hazards like tropical cyclones, earthquakes, drought, and volcanic eruptions,” she said during the Stories for a Better Normal online program on Thursday.

She said school buildings must be “disaster-proof” and take into consideration hazards in respective areas.

She noted that the Philippines’ vulnerability to climate change continues raising urgency for natural hazard preparedness among schools.

“We know more and more of those will come our way because of the growing climate crisis,” she said.

The increasing frequency of extreme weather events like super typhoons is among climate-related occurrences experts forecast for the country.

Ronilda Co, director of the Department of Education (DepEd) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Services (DRRMS), said the education sector is suffering from the onslaught of natural hazards.

Reporting on the sector’s vulnerability, she said about 93 percent of around 47,000 schools nationwide experience natural hazards at least once a year.

Tropical cyclone (TC) was the hazard such schools mostly experienced, she said. “We’re visited by TCs every year,” she said.

She noted TC Maring (international name ‘Kompasu’) was a severe tropical storm only, not a typhoon, but wreaked havoc in several areas last week.

Aside from natural hazards, she said about 49 percent of schools experience man-made hazards.

To help institutionalize a culture of safety in the education sector and ensure continuous delivery of educational services during emergencies and disasters, she said DepEd in 2011 created its disaster risk reduction and management office.

She said DepEd also integrated disaster risk reduction and management in its basic education framework.

DepEd is the agency that supervises all public and private elementary and secondary educational institutions as well as alternative learning systems in the country.

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