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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

31 October 2007
Issue No. 52

The Program for Hydro-meteorological Disaster Mitigation in Secondary Cities in Asia (PROMISE), funded by USAID/OFDA, commenced from October 2005. Through consultations with a number of ADPC partners, five project countries have been selected – Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam – for implementing demonstration projects in each country in a highly vulnerable city with recent history of hydro-meteorological disasters. Other components of the program consist of capacity building, risk management advocacy, networking and dissemination initiatives in the selected countries. The objective of the program is to contribute towards reduction of vulnerability of urban communities through enhanced preparedness and mitigation of hydro-meteorological disasters in South and Southeast Asia. The main activities from October to December 2007 are: implementing the small-scale mitigation projects for each city, planning for the conduct of national courses, and development of case study material.

In this Issue:

  • Program Activities for October and November 2007

  • From the Region

  • Calls for Submission

  • Conferences and Courses

  • Useful Resources


  • BANGLADESH – BDPC conducted a national training course on Urban Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction jointly with the National Institute of Local Government (NILG) from September 30 to October 2. The main purpose of the course was to build capacities of the 22 participants for better understanding of governance issues in relation to disaster risk reduction at local level.  PROMISE-Bangladesh team prepared the course outline in line with the regional course curriculum and in consultation with NILG faculty.  Mr. Arambepola of ADPC was present to give opening remarks.
    PROMISE-BD team organized a review meeting with City Corporation officials on October7 to share the progress of implementation of small scale mitigation projects. Mr. Rezaul Karim, City Planner, Mr. Yakub Nobi, Executive Engineer, Mr. Abu Sadat Md. Tayab, Assistant Engineer and other engineers were present in the meeting. The City Planner assigned Mr. Abu Sadat for providing all sorts of technical support to PROMISE. Following that meeting Mr. Sadat visited the project site on October 9, and assured to prepare the technical drawing of latrine for school cum shelter.
    There were two main advocacy activities this month.  PROMISE-BD team prepared the script for the school simulation with the help of Mr. Kishor of CPP.  Other arrangements have been made, pending setting the date for the event after consultation with the school authority.  PROMISE-Bangladesh team is also organizing the media orientation for the 3rd week of November. Some15 to 18 participants are expected to attend the course.

  • PAKISTAN –PROMISE-Pakistan team in collaboration with SAFWCO, the local NGO partner, celebrated International Disaster Day at a local hotel in Hyderabad.  District Government representatives, civil society organizations, Ms. Nuzhat Pathan (Advisor to the Chief Minister of Sindh Province), members of Provincial Disaster Management Authority, and 250 community members participated in the event.  Featured speakers were: Mr. Suleman G Abro, CEO, SAFWCO; Dr. Bakhshal Khan Lashari, Professor, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology; and Mr. Masood A Mahesar, Country Coordinator, PROMISE-Pakistan.  The terms of partnership for the small-scale disaster mitigation projects were signed by all the community members concerned, and can be started as soon as ADPC approves the proposals.  The Ramadhan observance in October put a pause in some of the activities.  The updates on the report on ‘Participatory Hazard Mapping and Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment’ are under process.  A disaster management orientation program for school children was organized in Government High School, Qasimabad.  Thirty-five (35) boys participated, and learned the basic causes of the disasters and their effects of human lives and livelihoods.  Two meetings were held with Taluka Municipal Administration Latifabad to discuss city action plan.  The plan was updated with local Government perspective. The city action plan is expected to be finalized through a consultative workshop in December 2007.

  • PHILIPPINES – CDP and the Dagupan City TWG made a formal presentation of the Project PROMISE to the Sangguniang Panlungsod on October 2.  The Sangguniang Panlungsod or city council is the local legislative body that passes ordinances and resolutions (laws of local application).  The achievements of PROMISE Philippines were shown, and emphasis was made on the importance of the involvement of the city council in the previous year in making of the City Resolution 5469-2006 making July 16 the Disaster Preparedness Day.  The need for additional resolutions and ordinances that would support the sustainability of the CBDRM in Dagupan City was also highlighted.  Specific mention was made on the need of a resolution to institutionalize a 24-hour Emergency Operation Center (EOC) office for the City with regular staff and a physical facility, and to officially adapt the DRM and CDCC Manual drafted by the TWG.  Vice-Mayor Belen Fernandez, the Chair and convenor of the Sanggunian, advocated to the councilors to draft the ordinance on the EOC.
    Two major networking activities happened in October.  Ms. Luneta attended the Asia Pacific Regional Workshop in School Education and Disaster Risk Reduction on October 8 to10.  The workshop promoted DRR for children, and risk assessment with children.  During the parallel sessions she promoted PROMISE-Philippines highlighting DRM and Local governance.  Participants from Bhutan and Germany were interested in the strategy used and expressed interest in future collaboration.  Ms. Luneta attended the National Training Course on Landslide Risk Management on October 17 to make a presentation on the process of CBDRM in Landslide Management.  She shared the process used in Dagupan City under PROMISE Philippines.  The course was organized by the University of the Philippines and Saint Louis University under the Asian Program for Regional Capacity Enhancement for Landslide Impact Mitigation (RECLAIM).

  • SRI LANKA – Sarvodaya had meetings with the Disaster Management Centre to discuss the details on the establishment of an Emergency Operations Center in Kalutara.  PROMISE Sri Lanka team also held several discussions with responsible officers of Sarvodaya to brief them on the small-scale disaster mitigation projects and finalize the procedure for doing them through the grassroots-level Sarvodaya Structure.  A third Community-Based Emergency Response Course (C-BERC) was conducted on October 1 to 5 for 25 persons from Kalutara District.  The 5-day program was conducted with Medical Teams International.  With the completion of this training, the number of persons trained as medical first responders increased up to 50 from Kalutara.  They will sign up an agreement with SCDMC to confirm their agreement to join EOC Kalutara and come to the field in a disaster when there is a need.  A meeting was held with SLILG to discuss the upcoming national course on Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction.  The date is tentatively set for November 16 to 20.  Preparation of the training modules has begun.  A public awareness program was conducted October 20 at Deshastra Balika Vidyalaya, Kalutara.  The program was a joint effort of several organizations that targeted the people who live in the coastal area.  Majority of the participants were affected by the 2004 tsunami.  PROMISE Sri Lanka team conducted an awareness program on Disaster Management with contribution from the Disaster Management Centre – Kalutara.

  • VIETNAM – CECI and the Construction Department finalized the guidelines on safe construction techniques.  The guidelines are now being translated to Vietnamese.  Three community meetings were conducted in three wards from October 23 to 25 to disseminate CBDRM knowledge and safe house construction techniques and validation of the ward disaster preparedness plan. A total of 150 persons including chief of the sections, community-based organizations and residents attended the one-day training and meeting delivered by the Change Agents who attended the TOT last month.  Revisions on the Community Based Disaster Preparedness Plan are being done based on the information gathered in the community meetings.  
    A list of community-based small scale projects were submitted to ADPC team for their comments and approval.  These projects included structural and non-structural subprojects as upgrading an inter-field dyke for agriculture production, improvement of flood drains and evacuation routes, and community awareness-raising and support of emergency facilities under the City level Emergency Response Plans. PROMISE Vietnam is finalizing the proposal to submit to ADPC as requested.  In addition, CECI will use the remaining fund for typhoon Xangsane to invest more in the subprojects proposed by the community and extended the project support to the non-project areas in the remaining three wards of Cam Le district.
    Three classes of the Community- Based Emergency Response Course were conducted for emergency response teams of three wards. These classes followed the same three-day training modules and materials of C- BERC as previously provided by ADPC trainers (DM in Vietnam, Diseases Precautions, Emergency Incident, Principles of Patient Assessment, Basic Life Support & CPR, Bleeding, Shock, Lifting and Moving Patient, Fracture, Sprain, Dislocation and Triage). In total around 62 persons attended the training, the majority are men (70%), and were given Certificates of Completion. Da Nang City Red Cross trainers, who acted as Assistants for ADPC trainers, delivered these trainings.  As commented by participants and district as well as ward authorities, C-BERC training was very essential and practical so they proposed to have more training classes given to sub committee for storm and flood control at section cluster level.  
    Preparations have started for the drawing competition on Disaster Preparedness and living Environment Protection to the target of 4th and 5th grade pupils of school in the three project wards. A draft plan was developed. Collection of information on number of classes and schools and collaboration with the District Education Department is in process.  
    The PROMISE Vietnam team participated in the Communities Disaster Prevention Tour on October 4 to 10.  The tour was organized for DIPECHO project partners to different projects from the South to the Central of Vietnam. PROMISE Vietnam sent Ms. Duong Thi Hoai Trang, PROMISE Project Coordinator, Ms. Marie France Biron, Urban Planning Volunteer, Ms. Duong Thi Hoan, Economic Department of Cam Le district, and two Vice Chairs of two vulnerable wards, Mr Nguyen Tuong and Nguyen Quang Vinh to join the study tour.  PROMISE Vietnam also hosted one stop of the tour at the wards under the PROMISE project and visited an example of its safer house program for promotion of application of safe techniques in house construction practices.


(1) PAG-ASA issued La Niña notice

(based on reports from PAGASA)

The notification was issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on September 21 based on recent present oceanic and atmospheric patterns, and will be confirmed if the patterns persist up to November.  A weak La Niña episode is also suggested by their dynamic and statistical models to strengthen and persist to the early months of 2008.  PAGASA will continue to monitor the phenomenon and give updates. 

(2) Centre for Risk Management of Natural Hazards in Iran

A Regional Centre for Risk Management of Natural Hazards opened in Mashad, I. R. of Iran, as a specialized agency of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).  ECO is an Asian intergovernmental development and trade cooperation body of 10 countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  The objective of the Centre is to promote cooperation between ECO members for effective risk management, especially in the fields of meteorology, climatology and hydrology.  Until the Centre’s statute as an ECO specialized agency enters fully into force, the Iranian Meteorological Organization will be in charge of the Centre.  For more information, contact: Seyed Mohammad Sadati Nejad ( or check out:

(3) An earthquake early warning wristwatch
Citizen and Rhythm Watch developed a device that combines an Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) receiver and an analog watch. The Seismic watch functions as an ordinary watch until it receives the EEW, which calculates the seismic intensity and arrival time of the earthquake in relation to the watch location based on this data.  The hour hand will speed up based on the seismic intensity estimation, while the minute and second hands give the countdown time to the earthquake arrival.  The wearer is alerted of an imminent earthquake with an audible alarm and, fittingly, a vibrator. This EEW capability is only available in Japan. The watch is available in a men’s model due to the built-in receiver.  Citizen hopes to downsize the watch in the future to produce a lady’s model, and to make a clock model for the home.  To read more, please go to . 

(4) India's tsunami warning centre up and running, October 1

(based on a report from SciDev.Net)

India's tsunami warning centre in Hyderabad became operational on October 1, less than three years since the country's southern coast was devastated by the Asian tsunami.  The center is located at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), and operates 24/7.  It receives data via satellite from six ocean buoys — four in the Bay of Bengal and two in the Arabian Sea — equipped with water pressure sensors to detect any rise in water levels.   To read more, please go to  

(5) Typhoon Lekima hits Vietnam, October 3

(based on reports from AlertNet, CRS, IFRC, and USAID)

Typhoon Lekima, packing winds of up to 120 kph (75 mph) blew into Vietnam on October 3.  Vietnam evacuated 400,000 people before Lekima hits its central coast.  The loss of life was minimal thanks to the mass evacuations, sentiments from both the Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and Irja Sandberg, IFRC representative in Viet Nam.  Government reports said Typhoon Lekima that blew in on Wednesday night and its aftermath caused damage in nine northern and central provinces.  The homes of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese villagers were underwater after days of some of the worst flooding in decades that killed up to 67 people.  Please go to the CCFSC-NDMP site for updated figures from joint assessments on the damage: more >>
The Viet Nam Red Cross (VNRC) donated household.  On October 9, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Jonathan M. Aloisi declared a disaster due to the typhoon and associated flooding, and in response, USAID/OFDA provided $100,000 through the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi to IFRC to support the provision of emergency relief supplies, including water containers and mosquito nets.  In order to replenish relief stocks and continue responding to people’s needs, the International Federation released 200,000 Swiss francs ($170,000 USD or € 120,000) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund on 7 October.  The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is appealing for 3.2 million Swiss francs ($2.7 million US/ €1.9 million) to help the most destitute people affected by Typhoon Lekima in flood-ravaged central Viet Nam.  Before reaching Vietnam, the typhoon made landfall late on October 2 near China's beach resort of Sanya, trapping tourists and forcing the evacuation of over 225,000 residents and the return to port of over 20,000 fishing boats.


(6) Call for presentations: 18th World Conference on Disaster Management

The Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness (CCEP) is calling for presentations for the conference that will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada from June 15-18, 2008.  The conference theme is: Resiliency - Individual, Community, Business.  Presentations should fall into one or more of the following categories: Real Events/Lessons Learned; Emerging Trends in Disaster Management ; The Human Element in Disaster Management; Technical Issues/Threats; Disaster Management Principles & Practices; and Academic/Research and Development.  Presentation abstracts must be submitted by December 2.  For more details, please visit or contact Adrian Gordon at (905) 331-2552 Ext: 221 or email:

(7) Deadline for PERISHIP Hazards Fellowships Applications Extended to February 1, 2008

The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) and the Natural Hazards Center are seeking applications for the National PERISHIP Fellowship Program, which will award up to six dissertation fellowships for work related to natural and human-made hazards, risk, and disasters. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2008.  Up to 6 grants of up to USD 10,000 each will be awarded in 2007/2008 to doctoral students to support their dissertation work on natural and human-made hazards, risk, and disasters in any relevant field of the natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, specialties in engineering, or interdisciplinary programs such as environmental studies. The grants are flexible and can be used for data collection, travel for field work, or for presentation of findings at meetings, purchase of software, data entry assistance, statistical analysis services, or a combination of these or other similar purposes (but, NOT for stipends or tuition).  Submit application materials in digital form (in PDF only, as a single file) by 5:00 pm EST on February 1, 2008. Applications should be sent to Hardcopy applications will not be accepted. Awards will be announced in May 2008. For complete information,
go to


(8) The 4th Sentinel Asia Joint Project Team Meeting (JPTM4)— Manila, Philippines: September 5-7, 2007

The fourth Joint Project Team Meeting (JPTM4) for establishing the Disaster Management Support System in the Asia-Pacific region was held at the Dusit Hotel Nikko, in Manila, the Philippines from September 5 to 7, 2007.  It was attended by 84 people representing 45 organizations from 17 countries and 6 international organizations. For more details please
go to:

(9) 2007 International Day for Disaster Reduction, October 10

IDDR was marked in the following 17 countries of Asia and the Pacific: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Nepal, Niue, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Philippines, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tuvalu and Viet Nam.  Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, ADPC’s Executive Director, a.i., gave the opening statement at the ceremony of the Regional Workshop on School Education and Disaster Risk Reduction from October 8 to 10, one of the key activities of the celebration. 

(10) ADPC at the UNSPIDER Workshop – Bonn, Germany: October 29 to 31

 ADPC made a presentation at the United Nations International UN-SPIDER Workshop: Space-based Information and Solutions for Disaster Management and Emergency Response.  The presentation “Incident Command System for Building Faster Responses to Disasters Response in the Indian Ocean Countries” was made by S.H.M. Fakkrudin.  The workshop was organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). 

(11) 36th Regional Training Course on Disaster Management – Bangkok, Thailand: 5 – 23 November 2007

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  This ADPC flagship course aims to facilitate effective strategies and systems for disaster prevention, mitigation, response and recovery, applying risk management processes in order to identify, assess and deal with disaster risk assessment, utilizing an emergency coordination center to manage disaster events and assess key implementation issues and requirements in disaster management.  To download the course brochure, please go to: more >>

(12) Asia-Pacific EcoHealth Conference: Sustaining People and Places in a Changing World – Basel, Switzerland: November 26-29, 2007

The conference will look at key issues surrounding the interdependent relationships of humans and their environments. It will showcase the latest research and contribute to the development of partnerships to create new strategies in addressing looming ecological crises.  For details, please visit:


(13) Island Advantage: id21 Insights, Issue #70

This issue of id21 #70 is about island advantage. Read about disaster resilience of the Chinese in the Solomon Islands: and of the Caribbean  To download the entire issue, please
go to:

(14) e-Primer on ICT for Disaster Management – APDIP-APCICT, 2007

 This e-primer introduces policy makers and development practitioners to the application of different information and communications technology (ICT) for disaster management, with case studies from the Asia-Pacific region. A key conclusion is that the effectiveness of ICTs in reducing disaster risks depends on how these ICTs are used. The use of ICTs in disaster management should not be seen as a choice between one type of technology over another. A multiplicity of communication channels and technologies exist, and each can be suitable in a particular situation. The challenge is to identify suitable combinations of technologies.  The online pdf version is available at  This e-primer is jointly produced by UNDP Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme ( and the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development ( 

(15) Country Focus 2: India

This section is a focus on online resources on the countries under the GUGSA project or PROMISE program, both funded by USAID.  The countries that will be featured are (in order): Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.  Here is a list of online resources on India:

  • India Country Study under the Good Urban Governance in South Asia project funded by USAID-India: more >>

  • Safer Cities 11: Towards Technological Hazards Risk Reduction in Ahmedabad: School as effective institutions for disaster awareness and preparedness, December 2004: more >>

  • “Megacities – megarisks,” by Friedemann Wenzel, Fouad Bendimerad and Ravi Sinha.   Natural Hazards (2007) 42:481–491.  For those with journal subscription: more >>

  • Disaster Preparedness for Natural Hazards: Current Status in India (2007) by ICIMOD: more >>

  • ISDR Profile of India: more >>

  • AlertNet’s profile of India: more >>

  • EMI’s disaster risk management profile of Mumbai: more >>

  • ADB Portal on Bangladesh: more >>

  • ADB Economic and Political Update on Bangladesh, 2007 April: more >> 



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