The Philippines is one of the countries most frequently hit by disasters, and is expected to experience an increase in the frequency and severity of typhoons and flash floods. And yet, local government units continue to struggle with disaster preparedness and implementing disaster risk reduction and management programs, projects, and activities in municipalities, barangays, and households.
A study conducted by Loida V. Vista, Dr. Arvin B. Vista, Dr. Josefina T. Dizon, and Dr. Maria Ana T. Quimbo, and published in the Climate, Disaster and Development (CDD) Journal, proposes a disaster preparedness rating instrument at the household, barangay, and municipal levels that can be adopted by the local government units (LGUs) in conducting assessments in their community.
The study entitled “Disaster Preparedness Index of Households and Selected Local Government Units in Laguna, Philippines” assessed the level of disaster preparedness in three selected municipalities in the Province of Laguna, which is in the list of top 10 provinces in the country considered most vulnerable to climate change hazards, including typhoons and floods. The study involved 194 respondents in areas exposed to high susceptibility to flooding, namely Barangay Santisima Cruz in Santa Cruz, Barangay Concepcion in Lumban, and Barangay Nanguma in Mabitac.
Key informant interviews, focus group discussions and household surveys were conducted to collect primary data. Descriptive statistics, Pearson product moment correlation, chi-square analysis, analysis of variance and simple/multiple linear regressions were used in analyzing the data. Computed weights were derived through analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to come-up with disaster preparedness index (DPI) at the household, barangay and municipal levels.
Capital-based assessment of these areas’ disaster preparedness revealed that at the household level, 51% of the respondents in the three sites had high disaster preparedness index (DPI), 34% had moderate DPI, and 15% had low DPI. All the three barangays had moderate DPI, while all the three municipalities had high DPI. Overall, the DPI at the household, barangay and municipal levels are at the moderate levels, signifying moderate compliance to the minimum requirements of the Philippine Disaster Reduction and Management Act (Republic Act 10121), and other related regulations.
However, findings indicate that, at the household level, there was significant difference in the level of awareness, connectedness, and competency indicators of disaster preparedness. Based on multiple linear regression, the most crucial factor that influences disaster preparedness at this level was lack of disaster preparedness orientation or training of household members, especially children.
Overall assessment also shows that the cascading of information on disaster preparedness programs from municipal to barangay, and eventually to households, are not being fully implemented.
The study highlights the need to strengthen disaster preparedness and resilience at all levels of society in the country. It proposes a disaster preparedness rating instrument that can be adopted by LGUs in conducting similar assessments in their own communities, from the municipal to the household level.
The study also proposes that the process of allocating Disaster Risk Reduction and Management funding be modified so that it is not solely based on LGU income but takes into consideration the LGU’s need for disaster preparation. Areas with low DPI should be given the highest priority and resources for disaster preparation.
Visit the CDD Journal website to read the abstract or to download a copy of “Disaster Preparedness Index of Households and Selected Local Government Units in Laguna, Philippines”.
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