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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

30 September 2007
Issue No. 51

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 July to September 2007 are local-level skills training, planning for the conduct of national courses, and implementing the small-scale mitigation projects for each city.

In this Issue:

  • Program Activities for August and September 2007

  • From the Region

  • Calls for Submission

  • Conferences and Courses

  • Useful Resources


  • BANGLADESH – BDPC conducted a school awareness session to increase the awareness level about disasters among the students, to form a School Disaster Management Committee in the school, and to initiate for development of school disaster management plan.  PROMISE Bangladesh organized eight of these sessions in various city corporation schools from August 28 to September 16.  About 2500 male and female students participated in these activities.  Each School Disaster Management Committee had seven members that included representatives from the school, parents and students.  A meeting was held with the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) officials on September 5 to brief them on the small-scale disaster mitigation projects.  A draft copy of the proposals was given to Mr. Rezaul Karim, the City Planner.  Following the meeting, Mr. Karim visited two project locations on September 9 and gave advice.
    PROMISE Bangladesh sent a delegation to the 2nd Regional Course on Urban Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction on September 17 to 21 composed of Mr. Md. Arfan Ali, Director General of the National Institute of Local Government (NILG); Mr. Rezaul Karim, City Planner, CCC; Ms. Farhana Sharmin, Urban Coordinator, CARE Bangladesh; and Ms. Maliha Ferdous from PROMISE Bangladesh.  Preparations were finished in this month for the replication of the training course on Urban Governance and Risk Reduction in Bangladesh scheduled to be held 30 September-2 October. BDPC will organize this course jointly with NILG.  About 23 participants are expected to attend, coming from CCC, selected municipalities, some service providing agencies, and CARE Bangladesh and other relevant development organization.
    Activities for next month include: the conduct of a training course on urban governance and disaster risk reduction; initiative for the implementation of mini community projects; and the conduct of disaster response simulations at school.
    Congratulations to PROMISE Bangladesh for getting global attention!  PROMISE Bangladesh was featured in two online publications.  UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction newsletter UNISDR Highlights, August 2007 issue!  Also, the NGO coalition ADRRN featured on their website PROMISE Bangladesh’s capacity building activities.  The links are found in the “Useful Resources” section below.

  • PAKISTAN – AKPBS(P) continued updating the ‘Participatory Hazard Mapping and Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment’ for the year 2007 as one major activity this September.  During the updating activities, another community has signed the terms of partnership for the small-scale disaster mitigation projects.  PROMISE Pakistan organized several capacity building activities in September.  Separate orientation programs for school children were organized at Iqra Boys High School for 45 children and 2 teachers and at Iqra Girls High School for 77 children.  A two day training workshop on ‘Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction’ was organized for 18 NGO representatives and officials of Taluka Municipal Administration, Latifabad on September 7 to 8.  The project team continued field activities through meetings with communities and other stakeholders to continue awareness-raising activities and discuss implementation strategies for the small-scale disaster mitigation projects.

    PROMISE Pakistan sent a delegation to the 2nd Regional Course on Urban Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction on September 17 to 21 composed of Mr. Faisal Farooq Khan and Mr. Masood Ahmed Mahesar of PROMISE Pakistan.

  • PHILIPPINES – CDP and ADPC facilitated a CBDRM Study Tour in the Philippines for CARE Bangladesh from September 2 to 8; this activity was also funded by USAID. There were 15 participants in the study tour from Care Bangladesh composed of CARE staff and partners from the community.  The participants visited Marikina City to learn about its Disaster Risk Management, and to talk with key city officials including Mayor Ma. Lourdes Fernandez.  They also went to San Mateo municipality (Rizal) and Navotas to see the active participation of the community in CBDRM.  The last stop was in the PROMISE Philippines site Dagupan City, where each of the project’s eight barangays made a presentation of their disaster mitigation initiatives.  One of the preparations for the study tour was a staging of three separate exercises in barangays Lasip Chico, Lasip Grande, and Pogo Grande.  The participants were also given a chance to talk with key officials in the city including Mayor Al Fernandez Jr.

    PROMISE Philippines conducted a Planning Workshop for the Sustainability of CBDRM in Dagupan City on September 19 and 20.  The topics included giving an orientation of the newly elected councilors/ officials, orientation for the new BDCC members after the October election, organizing a study visit on best practices of CBDRM, fund sourcing for sustainability of CBDRM, and follow up on the city-level EOC.  The workshop was attended by the TWG, the BDCC’s of the pilot communities, and by Councilor Farah Marie Decano of the city’s legislative board.  The workshop developed a strategy for sustaining CBDRM: to draft local legislation on disaster risk management, to develop case studies and awareness-raising materials, and to undertake intensive networking to other stakeholders and donors.

    PROMISE Philippines sent a delegation to the 2nd Regional Course on Urban Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction on September 17 to 21 composed of Ms. Thelma Q. Abdulrahman of the Department of the Interior and Local Government; Mr. Ryan Ravanzo, Dagupan City’s Information Officer; Ms. Cordelia Lacsamana of Baguio City’s Environment and Parks Management Office; a

    On networking activities: Oxfam invited CDP to submit an abstract for their Case Studies of Good Practices in Disaster Risk Management project.  Ms. Mayfourth Luneta and Ms. Grace Molina submitted an abstract on the PROMSE Dagupan Experience; Oxfam has notified CDP that it is being considered for inclusion in the book.  UNICEF invited CDP to attend both the protection cluster (September 10-11) and education cluster (September 13) meeting for assessment and planning of different stakeholders in the Philippines.  CDP participated in the meeting sharing the experiences in CBDRM including the PROMISE experience.

    Activities for next month include: Dagupan City Council DRM Orientation; conceptualization of Public Awareness Materials; and sharing of DRR in the educational sector in Dagupan at the UN DRR Workshop in Bangkok.

    Congratulations to Dagupan City and PROMISE Philippines!  Dagupan City is a national finalist in the 2007 Gawad Kalasag for disaster mitigation.  The City and Barangay Mangin already won in its region last July.

  • SRI-LANKA – Sarvodaya conducted several field visits to complete the identification of the small scale mitigation projects. The PROMISE Sri Lanka team decided to implement four structural mitigations and two non structural mitigations: elevation of the by road at 729 Nagoda West GN Division, toilet system for the public fair at Kalutara city proper and at Calido beach; soil erosion control measures and establish a waste separation system in two selected schools in Kalutara; improving the drainage system to address the problem of water logging; capacity building in disaster risk management for the construction industry (in partnership with NBRO); and equipping the disaster prevention institutes to increase their coordination capacities.  A meeting on September 6 with Mr. Krishan Bandara, Director of the Human Settlements Division of NBRO, to start planning for the training program on safe construction for builders and masons.  Possibilities for cooperation with NBRO on issues related to land use planning.  The PROMISE Sri Lanka team has the next C-BERC Training for 25 participants. The 5-day training program will be conducted by North West Medical Team. When this training is completed, the 50 persons trained under C-BERC will join the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Kalutara.  Once the SOPs are developed, their roles in the field search-and-rescue teams will be clarified.

    A meeting was held last August 29 with officials from the government’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) and from Sarvodaya’s Disaster Management Centre to strengthen the linkage with the DMC, and to get their support for the PROMISE Sri Lanka small-scale disaster mitigation projects.  Another similar meeting was held on September 6 with the officials from the District Secretariat for Kalutara, and on September 15 with representatives of 28 Civil Safety Committees.  The civil safety committees were also asked to detail their roles in pre-disaster and post-disaster events, to be used for developing SOPs for the EOC.

    PROMISE Sri Lanka sent a delegation to the 2nd Regional Course on Urban Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction on September 17 to 21 composed of Ms. Padma Karunaratne, Colombo Municipal Council; Mr. R.M.A.K. Rathnayake, Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance; Mr. H.M.U.Chularathne, SEVANATHA - Urban Resource Centre; and Mr. Menake Wijesinghe from PROMISE Sri Lanka.

  • VIETNAM – CECI conducted a CBDRM Training of Trainers (TOT) from September 27 to 28 for 13 Change Agents (4 female and 9 male trainers) identified from six wards in Cam Le district. The one-and-a-half day training equipped the participants with facilitating techniques, condensed CBDRM training content and skills of validation of Disaster Preparedness Plan (DPP). The CAs were divided into three groups to conduct community meetings at the three wards to disseminate information on CBDRM and validate the disaster preparedness plan.  All wards under PROMISE Vietnam have submitted their final DPPs with proposal for community based small scaled subprojects. These DPPs would be finalized after community meetings to be conducted in October.  The project steering committee met on September 25 to agree on criteria for subproject selection and priority for investment. The subproject would mainly cover community awareness raising on CBDRM and environment protection, training and support to the emergency response team, agriculture production improvement accompanied with operation and maintenance training.  The final list of sub-projects under PROMISE Vietnam will be decided after the community meeting and finalization with the district.

    The content of the Guidelines on Safe Construction Techniques was finalized this month. An in-house familiarizing workshop will be held in October for the city authority.  The Community Level Basic Emergency Response Course (C- BERC) training was implemented from September 10 to 12 in collaboration with ADPC team and Danang City Red Cross Association. The training was conducted by Instructors from ADPC, Mr. Frederick John Abo and Mr. Anup Karanth of ADPC, and four Assistant Instructors from Danang City Red Cross.  A total of 27 participants (9 female and 18 male) came from the city’s Red Cross from 7 districts.

    PROMISE Vietnam actively participated in the preparations for the Communities Disaster Prevention Tour for DIPECHO project partners from 4th to 10 October. This is the integration of PROMISE VIETNAM into other projects implemented by CECI as a partner of DIPECHO project.  Around 35 participants from Save the Children, Oxfam, Red Cross, CARE, World Vision, Development Workshop France, CECI and mass media would participate in the study tour to different projects from the South to the Central of Vietnam. Five persons from PROMISE Vietnam including two from project team and three from district and ward partners would participate into this study tour.  To share its good practice on CBDRM, PROMISE Vietnam would take the take the study tour group to visit a house demonstration in its safer house programme for promotion of application of safe techniques in house construction practices.

    PROMISE Vietnam sent a delegation to the 2nd Regional Course on Urban Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction on September 17 to 21 composed of Mr. Thai Van Quang, Danang City Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture; Mr Tran Viet Dzung, Construction Planning Institute; Ms. Pham Hoang Lan, Central Committee for Storm and Flood Control; and Ms. Duong Thi Hoai Trang, PROMISE Vietnam.

    Activities for next month include: participation in the Community Disaster Prevention Tour; community meetings for disseminating and validating DPPs; finalizing guidelines on urban planning and safer construction techniques; preparations for the school program; finalizing community-based small-scale disaster mitigation projects; and developing the hydro-meteorological risk assessment module for the CBDRM training.


(1) Japan engages in disaster-preparedness drills, September 2

(based on a report in The Japan Times)
About 630,000 people nationwide took part in a major earthquake drill organized by the government on September 1 for Disaster Preparedness Day for a scenario that included damage at a Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture.  Saturday's drills came weeks after a magnitude-6.8 quake in central Niigata Prefecture killed 11 people and injured more than 1,000 last July 16.  The temblor triggered malfunctions and leaks at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, raising concerns about safety at Japan's nuclear power stations. 

(2) Flooding leaves millions homeless in India and Bangladesh

(based on a report from Alertnet)
Northern India experienced some of the worst flooding in years this month.  About 10 million people of Assam state were affected and more than 2,000 villages were submerged.  About 3 million people are living in temporary shelters, government buildings and schools.  Around 400,000 hectares (one million acres) of farmland were flooded.  In the neighboring state of Manipur, at least 55,000 people have been rendered homeless and are staying in more than 30 relief camps.  The flooding has also spread across parts of Bangladesh.  Around half a million were left marooned in their swamped villages on Tuesday after water was released from the flooded reservoir of a hydroelectric plant. 

(3) Imams study disaster management

(based on a report from Alertnet)
Muslim leaders in Kashmir, scene of a devastating earthquake in October 2005 which killed around 75,000 people, have been studying how to use their influence to help their communities if disaster strikes again.  "God is not to blame for natural disasters," reports Indian TV channel NDTV - which has this film online. 

(4) Big quake hits Indonesia, Bangkok to be declared earthquake-prone zone

(based on reports by Reuters and The Bangkok Post)
A powerful earthquake of 8.2 magnitude struck Indonesia's Sumatra region on September 12, triggering tsunami warnings in the Indian Ocean and and causing at least two deaths and nine were seriously hurt.  Indonesia's meteorological agency said the big quake's epicenter was 159 km (99 miles) southwest of Bengkulu, a remote area of mountains and forests.
Indonesia issued two tsunami warnings, one after the first quake, and the second after a smaller tremor a few hours later in the same area.  The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an Indian Ocean tsunami warning after the first quake struck at 6:10 p.m. (1110 GMT).  Authorities from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia issued independent warnings, as did India for the Andaman and Nicobar islands and France for the island of Reunion.  However, the Indonesian warnings and most others in the region had been lifted by 1600 GMT.
Some residents of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand also felt the first quake and some buildings were evacuated.  Thailand is drafting regulations to declare Bangkok an earthquake-prone zone after the capital felt the effects of the earthquake.  The new law would require all new tall buildings in Bangkok and surrounding provinces to be quake-proof.  It has been drafted by the interior ministry and is currently being reviewed by Thailand's top legal experts.
The Thai Department for Mineral Resources is currently studying the risks posed to the capital by the three fault lines within a 100-km radius of Bangkok.  Bangkok's soft clay geological condition is also being studied because it can increase a quake's magnitude and earthquake damage to a city located on such soil is likely to be greater than those established on solid soil, according to Tawsaporn Nuchanong, director of the geological environment and disaster division. 

(5) Typhoon Wipha floods China’s eastern coast, September 19

(based on a report in AlertNet)
Typhoon Wipha drenched eastern China, submerging crops, houses and streets, toppled thousands of homes, and knocked out power and water supplies as it swept ashore.  In Zhejiang, Wipha cut off power in nearly 1,900 villages, destroyed almost 2,500 houses, flooded 160,000 hectares of farmland and severed 239 roads, affecting 6 million people.  The storm caused estimated economic losses of 6.6 billion yuan ($878.2 million) in Zhejiang and Fujian, as rivers and reservoirs overflowed. Thousands of dyke breaches were reported.


(5) 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) Call for Abstracts: MapIndia 2008

GIS Development is calling for papers for the next MapIndia conference on February 2007.  The theme 'Enterprise GIS and Infrastructure Development' highlights the role played by Enterprise GIS, an emerging global geospatial trend, in achieving greater efficiency and better returns on investment and how GIS has become an integral part of infrastructure development projects in developing nations like India.  Technical sessions include: Disaster Management, Earth Sciences, Environment And Forestry, Municipal GIS, Urban Planning and Rural Development, and Water Resource Planning.  Deadline for abstracts is October 31.  For more details, please visit:


(8) Regional Workshop on Education for Disaster Risk Reduction – Bangkok, Thailand: 8 – 10 October 2007

The workshop is an initiative developed by the Education Task Force as a first step to demonstrate the long term commitment of this partnership to integrate disaster risk reduction into the Education sector. This three-day Regional Workshop will be part of a longer-term regional strategy to integrate disaster risk reduction and school safety construction programmes as part of education curricula. It will bring together decision makers and practitioners from the field of disaster risk reduction, disaster management and education.  The “Education Task Force” (ETF) was created under ISDR’s leadership and is composed of UNESCO, UNICEF, UNISDR and IFRC regional offices for Asia and Pacific, UNCRD and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).   

(9) Regional Course on Flood Disaster Risk Management – Bangkok, Thailand: 8 – 19 October 2007

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  The course is an integrated approach to the development of flood risk reduction strategies that involve engineering, settlement, development, public administration, and community-based strategies and land use planning with environmental consideration.  The course intends to impart the information and skills in flood problem analysis, understanding and appreciation of the various approaches to flood risk reduction, determination of appropriateness of the strategies and/or measures to achieve the desired goal of flood risk/damage reduction.  To download the course brochure, please go to:

 (10) National Training Course on Landslide Risk Management – Baguio, Philippines: 17 – 19 October 2007

Organizer: University of the Philippines.  The National Training Course on Landslide Risk Management aims to develop capability and resilience of communities at risk from landslides by promoting local awareness and training, and the introduction of effective alternative, low-cost and indigenous measures for monitoring and mitigating landslides.  Co-organizers are the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, and St. Louis University.  To download the course brochure, please go to:

(11) Applications of remote sensing and GIS in detecting and monitoring Tsunami damage to mangrove and other terrestrial forests and coastal zone resources – Bangkok, Thailand: 22 October – 3 November 2007

Organizer: International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation.  The main purpose of this 2-week course is to enhance the capabilities of managers and technical staff in disaster risk management, by providing them understanding of the use of remote sensing and GIS techniques to detect, map and monitor damage of tsunami to mangrove and other coastal resources.  To download the brochure, please go to:

(12) 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: 

(13) Management of Landslide Hazard in the Asia-Pacific Region – Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan: 11 -15 November 2008

Organizer: Japan Landslide Society.  The conference is designed to provide a stimulating forum for geoscientists, engineers, programme managers, and other decision makers concerned with landslide hazards and their management. The conference lasts from November 11 to 12, and the Post-Conference Field Trip is from the 12th to 15th. 


(14) Initiatives in Disaster Risk Reduction – ProVention and ADPC, 2007

The ProVention Consortium initiated the Applied Research Grants Program for Disaster Risk Reduction to support innovative action research by young professionals under 35 years from developing countries.  The publication is a documentation of the grantees’ drive and commitment to develop innovative initiatives towards disaster risk reduction for safer communities.  Derived from a rich dialogue during the Bangkok Workshop December 2006, it aims to showcase not only the achievements, but also the constraints, and challenges of the grantees in implementing their respective researches and the determination to continue their professional engagement with these issues.  To download go to:

(15) National Platforms for Disaster Reduction – ADPC, 2007

This study looks into the disaster management (DM) framework for three South (East) Asian countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.  It examines the current status of disaster reduction, existing organizational structure involved in DM in the countries, identifies the existing actors and networks at the national level, potential supporters and the areas of activities.  To download:

(16) Country Focus 1: Bangladesh

This new 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 Bangladesh:


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