3 years after Yolanda: PH still ‘disaster compacent’?

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Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez visits the convent of the Guiuan Parish Church in Eastern Samar that was destroyed during the onslaught of Yolanda, Nov. 21, 2016. (CBCPNews)

MANILA, Nov. 4, 2016— As recovery continues almost three years after typhoon Yolanda’s devastation, a Catholic bishop called on the public to always be prepared for disasters.

In a pastoral letter issued for the third anniversary of Yolanda, Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan said there is no room for complacency, which leads people to ignore disaster warnings.

“The third anniversary of Yolanda cannot lead us to complacency. It should and must lead us to watchfulness and preparedness marked by informed resilience,” said the prelate.

16 million affected

“If there is no substitute to victory in war, neither is there any substitute to preparedness in any emergency,” he said.

An estimated 16 million people were affected and 1.4 million homes were damaged when Yolanda struck the Visayas region on Nov. 8, 2013.

The disaster also brought “horrific” destruction of people’s livelihood, farms, churches, government facilities, infrastructures, among others.

“We pray in a special way for those who are still in the process of recovery,” the bishop said as he urged the faithful to continue praying for the thousands of people who died during the onslaught of Yolanda.

He cited the many families who are still living in temporary shelters which already need replacements “that are stronger against any possible emergency.”

“I am deeply concerned that these shelters are built mostly of coco lumber,” said Varquez.

Lifestyle change

“Resilience also requires us to build houses and infrastructures able to stand against super typhoons, flooding and earthquakes.”

“Equally important, we must cultivate livelihoods and sources of income resilient to calamities, that is, we must be able to support our families despite acts of nature beyond our control,” he added.

The prelate also reiterated his call for the people to care for the environment and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

He said efforts are needed to care for the integrity of creation such as planting, recycling, better use of renewable energy, and reduction of energy consumption through austere and simple lifestyle. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews) 

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