The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged Friday, Sept. 24 all local government units (LGUs) to prepare for the La Niña phenomenon amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as weather forecasters predict of a 70 to 80 percent chance of heavy rains in the last quarter of 2021.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año directed all LGUs to ensure that all preparedness measures are undertaken in anticipation of the looming La Niña amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We always have to be preemptive instead of reactive in disaster response, which is why as early as now we encourage LGUs to convene their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs), conduct La Niña pre-disaster risk assessment (PDRA), and update their local contingency plans or La Niña action plans for Hydrometeorological Hazards,” Año said.
During La Niña, above normal rainfall conditions will be experienced in most parts of the country.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) noted that La Niña may emerge in October 2021 and may persist until the first quarter of 2022 with rainfall forecasts also suggesting a higher probability of above-normal rainfall conditions in many areas of the country in the next several months.
The state weather bureau disclosed that more rainfall is expected over Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, parts of Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas and Central Visayas in October.
“LGUs are also encouraged to engage the participation of local health officers to ensure that critical COVID-19 prevention protocols are already integrated,” Año said.
The DILG Chief also called on all LGUs to assess the structural integrity and capacity of their vital facilities, especially those being used as evacuation centers, vaccination centers, and multi-purpose buildings, LIGTAS-COVID centers, health centers, and hospitals for COVID-19 cases.
On top of the preparations, the DILG asked the local chief executives to conduct a monthly assessment and ensure the top shape functionality of all established Early-Warning Systems (EWS) in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
The DILG also exhorted the LGUs to closely coordinate with the other relevant agencies such as PAGASA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB), and Department of Health (DOH).