Research shows urban poor prone to flood, fire, drug abuse

“It is because of poverty that they do not have enough capacity to purchase materials and equipment to ensure their safety in times of disaster.”

By BETTINA CATLI and LHEALYN VICTORIA
Bulatlat.com

Metro Manila urban poor communities are vulnerable to flood, fire, and drug abuse.

This was the finding of a research by the NGO Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), with their partners Australian Aid (AusAid) and Plan International-Philippines (Plan).

The research was conducted in 12 villages in three major cities: Sta. Lucia, Batasan Hills, Gulod and Bagong Silangan in Quezon City; Salapan, Batis West Crame and Corazon de Jesus in San Juan City; and Arkong Bato, Punturin, Gen. T. De Leon and Ugong in Valenzuela City.

Lorraine Dela Cruz, CDP executive director, said the research looked into the dangers that the communities usually face and experience, and the people’s awareness of it. It highlighted risk reduction for children and the youth, being the most vulnerable sector.

The common hazards and risks found in all the 12 villages were flood, fire, and drug abuse.
During the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, communities in San Juan were severely flooded because of their proximity to the San Juan River, while in Valenzuela, where most industrial factories are located, fires were considered a high risk, as shown by the fire in Kentex factory.

In Quezon City, children aged 10 were caught selling and using drugs.

Jesusa Grace Molina, program head of Research Knowledge Exchange and Management (RKEM), said the study could help prepare community residents for disasters. She said they would give the findings to the village officials to help in their risk reduction planning.

“These urban poor communities are very vulnerable to disasters and risks because for one, they are living in high-risk areas and as such, their economic aspects are weak.” Molina said.

The research included the recommendations of the community to strengthen the resilience of their villages. These include better infrastructure projects, capacity-building for disaster risk and reduction management, and stricter implementation of policies and laws.

In Quezon City, the community said better livelihood projects and raising the wages will help create resilience towards disaster and risks.

“It is because of poverty that they do not have enough capacity to purchase materials and equipment to ensure their safety in times of disaster,” Molina explained.

The research’s findings will be used within two to three years as the baseline data for disaster-preparedness projects, search and rescue and basic life skills trainings, the group said.()

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