In light of the massive weather disturbances caused by Superstorm Sandy in the East Coast of the United States, Senator Loren Legarda urged government leaders to draw lessons from the effective disaster preparedness measures undertaken by the New York City government.
“As early as October 26 in New York, Mayor Mike Bloomberg already announced that the city was taking necessary precautions. Modes of public transportation like the subway were closed shortly after, and residents were told to stay inside their homes. By October 28, tunnels and bridges were already closed and all flights going in and out of the area were cancelled. This level of alertness should also inspire other US government officials to prepare, if not for Sandy then for the subsequent weather disturbances that are certain to occur as we witness the worsening effects of climate change,” she stressed.
Legarda also cited the level of disaster preparedness of the Federal Government and State Government of New York.
Sandy is dubbed the strongest weather disturbance experienced by the region in 27 years, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph or 130 km/h. It made landfall on October 29, local NY time. It has already killed at least 50 people, knocked out electricity in about 8.2 million households in 17 states, and caused massive flooding.
“We have again witnessed nature’s wrath through Superstorm Sandy. Affected communities are coping with the devastation, which could have been worse with the lack of preparedness. Mayor Bloomberg’s sense of urgency and swiftness of action should be emulated by all our public servants. Working together, our meteorologists, weather scientists, national and local officials, and other leaders, can all prevent massive losses of lives and property by simply being prepared,” said Legarda, the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific.
“The US’ experience with Sandy shows us that while such a massive force of nature is frightening and unstoppable, we can drastically reduce our losses by combining the latest technology, the most up-to-date information, and effective and efficient public warning systems. Ultimately, we must take responsibility for each other, and we must use all our resources to do so,” Legarda concluded.***