By Priam Nepomuceno

BRAVING FLOODS. A motorcycle braves through the flood along Scout Ybardolaza Street in Quezon City after heavy rains on May 17, 2024. The Office of Civil Defense said it was ramping up preparedness efforts to ensure zero casualties during the La Niña phenomenon, which would bring above-normal rainfall conditions. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has said it was ramping up preparations to ensure zero casualties during the La Niña phenomenon.

“We should step up our efforts and work together towards zero casualties. That is the first thing, no deaths and the safety of everyone. Then, of course, mitigate other possible impacts such as flooding,” OCD administrator Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said in a statement over the weekend.

Nepomuceno said this was possible as the Philippines has always been dealing with tropical cyclones every year.

“It has been a practice that before the onset of the rainy season, government agencies implement preparations for the effects of storms and heavy rainfall. However, the key here is sustained and improved efforts and applying the lessons from previous disasters to our current preparations,” Nepomuceno said.

The OCD is closely coordinating with its regional offices as well as with other government agencies on the preparations for the wet season, he added.

“Strengthening disaster preparedness is always a shared responsibility. Everyone should cooperate and carry out necessary measures,” Nepomuceno said.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the country is now transitioning to the rainy season.

“Pre-developing La Niña historically is characterized by below normal rainfall, therefore, the possibility of a slight delay on the onset of the rainy season is likely with the combined effects of the ongoing El Niño. A transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is expected in the April-May-June 2024 season (85 percent chance) – probability of La Niña (60 percent chance) in June-July-August (JJA) 2024 season.” the state weather bureau said in its monitoring bulletin.

The weather bureau said La Niña’s effects were likely to be felt in the last quarter of the year, which would mean above-normal rainfall conditions and more tropical cyclones. (PNA)