by Hep Benitez
SENDAI, Japan – Princess Margriet, the Princess Royal of the
Netherlands, congratulated Philippines for disaster preparedness on Wednesday, March 11 during the Children and Youth Forum at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet, the third daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, has delivered the opening message during the opening program of the Children and Youth Forum on Friday, March 13.
The Children & Youth Forum and Pre-WCDRR Workshops embody activities related to children and youth engagement to disasters risk reduction.
In her message, the 72-year old Princess said “After the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 another typhoon hit Philippines in early December 2014 (Typhoon Hagupit). We learn that this time, one million people have been evacuated.”
“Within a space of one single year, a great deal of suffering has been prevented through good preparation,” the princess added.
In an interview, she graciously congratulated the Philippine government and the Filipinos for job well done during the Typhoon Hagupit. Princess Margriet mentioned that “Filipinos are really prepared when disasters come.
During the Typhoon Hagupit, local name Ruby, the Department of Education (DepEd) advised school administrators to lead preparation in the typhoon. Disaster officials dismissed fears that the typhoon will be as strong as typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Youth involvement to DRR
The youth are encouraged to sign up as volunteers to DRR projects and programs to reduce the risk brought by natural hazards. This approach engages young people in recruiting volunteers which has a snowball effect.
“We need your support, your network, and your innovative ideas,” the princess asked the participants.
“The main point of disaster prevention in a holistic approach is preparing your people of at risk location in the preparation for recurring disaster such as evacuation tents and building safe shelters, schools, and hospitals,” the princess added.
Hep Benitez is a Project Agos volunteer, an advocate of Safe School Philippines, and the Philippine representative for the Children and Youth Forum at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.