Filipinos drive past a damaged national highway after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Guihulngan Town, province of Negros Oriental, Central Philippines, on Feb. 7 (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA)
GENEVA, 7 February 2012
- The UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, today extended her sympathy to the people of the Philippines on the tragic loss of life in yesterday’s earthquake. Over 50 people are reported to have died in the earthquake which was followed by over 150 aftershocks, and landslides in several places.
She also commented on the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s rapid response to the year’s first significant threat of a tsunami.
Ms. Wahlström, the head of UNISDR, the UN’s office for disaster risk reduction, said: “A tsunami alert was issued 42 minutes after yesterday’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake amidst reports of unusual sea-level changes in the coastal areas of Negros and Cebu islands.
“The alert was cancelled after two hours but the preparedness measures were well-executed, evacuations took place accompanied by information drives and it is clear that lessons are being applied from previous experiences of tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean.”
She added: “This earthquake, following so quickly after Typhoon Sendong, underlines the fact that the Philippines has to manage the risk associated with multiple natural hazards. The widespread damage to critical infrastructure such as bridges, schools and hospitals highlights the importance of UNISDR’s collaboration with the government especially on the creation of a national disaster loss data base which help guide public and private investment in risk reduction,” said the UNISDR Chief.