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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

30 April 2008
Issue No. 58

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. Indonesia has just been recently added as a PROMISE country. 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 April to June 2008 are: the 2008 Working Group Meeting, finishing the small-scale mitigation projects for each city, implementing the city-level workshops on disaster mitigation, promoting school safety, the development of case study material, and preparations of the final report.

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES for January and February 2008:

  • BANGLADESH – BDPC organized the City level workshop on “Development of City Disaster Management Plan” held on April 23. Honorable Mayor M. Manjur Alam inaugurated the program; Dr. Md Jalal Ahmed, Civil Surgeon, Chittagong City Corporation, were present as Special Guests. Mr. Moloy Chaki, program coordinator presided over the workshop session. Ms. Maliha Ferdous welcomed the participants and guest on behalf of PROMISE-BDPC team. A total of 71 representatives from different key departments of the city participated at the event. The event had 2 parts: a technical session where resource persons made presentations on various natural hazards and climate change issues, and a workshop where the participants worked in groups to identify the activities and responsible authorities for the disaster management.  The implementation of the community mitigation projects continued this month, and is expected to be over in May.  Activities for next month include a mock emergency response and search-and-rescue drill, an advocacy workshop, completion of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects, and the establishment of school disaster management programs.

  • INDONESIA – PROMISE-Indonesia concentrated on meetings with the communities of the selected kelurahan of Jakarta province as part of the preparations for CBDRR intervention at grassroots level.

  • PAKISTAN – PROMISE-Pakistan continued the implementation of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects.  The projects will be completed by May.  PROMISE-PK finalized the arrangements for the National Course on Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled for May 26 to 29.

  • PHILIPPINES – PROMISE-Philippines conducted the 1st LGU Course on Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction from April 8 to 10 in Dagupan City was organized. The event aimed to promote the culture of disaster safety and resiliency putting forward the element of good governance among individuals and groups involved in the bureaucratic work.  Thirteen (13) representatives from eight municipalities and cities attended the course: municipalities of Alcala, Asingan, La Union, Rosales, San Fabian, Sta. Barbara, and Dagupan City and Urdaneta City.  Resource persons from the City Government (Technical Working Group), Center for Disaster Preparedness, Guagua Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council, and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of Region 1 imparted lessons learned and good practices in disaster risk reduction and good governance to the participants.  The course featured interactive lectures, brainstorming sessions; group workshops, Focused Group Discussions, audio-visual presentations, a half-day field trip to see the good practices in CBDRM in the 8 pilot communities under PROMISE-Philippines (namely Mangin, Salisay, Tebeng, Lasip Chico, Lasip Grande, Bacayao Sur, Bacayao Norte and Pogo Grande) and to interact closely with the community people and learn from their rich stories, and an action planning activity to draft a plan which will showcase the activities that they would like to take on when they come back to their respective communities. In particular, they were asked to identify various activities before, during and after a disaster which they think would help their communities become safer and prepared.  Copies of Safer Cities 20 were distributed to the participants.
    A covenant signing among 42 representatives from different municipalities, cities and province of Region 1 in the Philippines was held on April 10 after the course.  This ceremony was the start of a partnership to promote and mainstream disaster risk reduction into their plans and programs.  Signatories included the mayors, heads of the local disaster coordinating councils, staff of the various LGU departments, officials from the DILG and Office of Civil Defense regional offices, non-government organizations and civil society.

  • PROMISE-Philippines had several networking and advocacy activities this April.  Ms. Mayfourth Luneta of CDP attended the Trocaire DRR Workshop from March 31 to April 4 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.  Ms. Luneta presented the CDP/PROMISE experience in risk assessment, and the risk reduction measures done as results of the risk assessment.  The workshop was attended by different Trocaire partners in the region.  Ms. Lorna P. Victoria of CDP attended the 5th Disaster Management Practitioners Workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from April 2 to 4, one of the events most attended by different DM practitioners from the region.  Ms. Victoria presented “Sustaining Partnership in CBDRR: Experiences in Urban Areas”, with Dagupan City and PROMISE-Philippines one of the cases highlighted in the presentation.  She also distributed copies of the PROMISE 2008 calendars and Safer Cities 16.  Oxfam GB launched the ten-minute video of CBDRM good practices on April 29 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Makati.  The video included the Barangay Mangin-Dagupan Experience in CBDM entitled “Strength in Numbers:  The Barangay as Building Block” that showcased the PROMISE-Philippines experience in strengthening the BDCC and helping the community get involved in CBDM.  The early warning systems as well as other CBDM components were also shown in the AVP.  Next month’s activities include: the preparations for the National Course on DRM and Governance, and a sharing session of community hazard mapping tools for high-risk communities in Baguio.

  • SRI LANKA – PROMISE-Sri Lanka continued the implementation of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects.  The Mainstreaming DRR in Local Governance project saw meetings of the Joint Committee for Mainstreaming DRM this month to finalize the Strategy Paper for Sri Lanka.

  • VIET NAM – PROMISE-Vietnam completed the small-scale disaster mitigation projects.  PROMISE-VN also conducted the city-level workshop on CBDRM institutionalization and experience sharing on April 18.  Key stakeholders attended the meeting; Mr. Arambepola and Ms. Karunaratne represented ADPC.  PROMISE-VN country project activities are finished as of April 30; the remaining tasks are the writing and submission of the final report.

 A. From the Region

(1) Indonesian volcano spews ash, residents evacuated, April 15 (based on a report by Reuters)

Authorities announced that Mount Egon on Flores island started to erupt late on Tuesday, emitting grey ash up to 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) above the crater, after showing increased activity since early this month.  About 600 people living about 1.8 km (1 mile) from the peak of the volcano were evacuated.  Although the eruption was not considered dangerous, nearby residents were made to wear masks.

(2) Bird flu in South Korea(based on a report by Reuters)

South Korea extended its risk level for bird flu to the second highest nationwide on April 16 as it braces for the worst influenza outbreak among poultry in more than four years.  In less than two weeks, South Korea confirmed 11 cases of the H5N1 strain with an outbreak at a farm in Pyeongtaek city in Gyeonggi province, 60 km south of Seoul, and at a farm in Sunchang county in North Jeolla province.  In late 2003, the country it had to kill 5.3 million birds to arrest the spread of bird flu.  South Korea is investigating possible causes of the spread such as migrating birds and transport workers who have been moving around the affected sites and other parts of the country.  The farm ministry will beef up quarantine work and will conduct year-round regular tests on poultry (rather than concentrating on the November and February period).  They have also raised the risk level for bird flu to 'alert,' extending coverage nationwide from the southwest.

(3) ASEAN+3 Satellite Image Network to Aid Disaster Management and the Environment (based on a report from ASM)

The prototype of an internet-based satellite image archives sharing network for ASEAN+3 member countries is expected to be completed by September this year.  Coordinated by the Thai space technology and geo-informatics organisation GISTDA, the ASEAN +3 Satellite Image Archive for Environmental Study (ASIA-ES) project is designed to aid scientists and governments to tackle disaster and environmental problems in the region.  A data clearinghouse will house earth observation satellite data and other environment-related information gathered by space agencies in the region.  To read more, please go to the original article:

(4) ITU will lend mobile satellites telecoms to the Philippines for disaster preparedness

(based on a report from UN-SPIDER)

The International Telecommunications Union committed to send mobile satellite telecommunications equipment to the Catanduanes Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, Philippines.  The goal is to ensure voice communication, high-speed data transmission and Internet access for disaster preparedness for three months during the typhoon season.  The use is for free, and the equipment will be returned to Geneva for other countries to use.

(5) Asian countries battle with malaria

(based on reports from IRIN)

Several countries are dealing with malaria this month.  Outbreaks of malaria are being reported in various parts of the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan.  In early April, the Islamabad-based Directorate of Malaria Control (DOMC) said 130,000 cases of malaria had been confirmed in Pakistan in 2007. 
In the Philippines, the Department of Health marked World Malaria Day on 25 April declared six more provinces malaria-free, bringing the total to 22 out of 81.  The provinces of Marinduque, Sorsogon, and Albay in Luzon; Eastern and Western Samar in the Visayas; and Surigao del Norte in Mindanao were declared malaria-free.  This means no indigenous cases were reported for five consecutive years.  Malaria cases have consistently been declining: from more than 76,000 reported in 1990 to 46,000 in 2005, with 150 deaths that year. In 2006, malaria incidences declined a further 26 percent to 33,800, with 89 deaths.
Indonesia, where close to 100 million people live in areas susceptible to malaria, has embarked on a drive to eliminate the disease by 2030.  The program includes: a national campaign on how to prevent and treat the disease; malaria alert posts in villages to improve surveillance; distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets in endemic regions, with two million to be supplied in 2008 alone; free immunization for babies; and increased detection through microscopy slides, rapid diagnostic tests and more laboratories. In addition, is being launched.  Last year, 1.75 million Indonesians were clinically diagnosed with malaria and more than 300,000 people tested positive for the disease.  The fatality rate in Indonesia is estimated at about 1 per cent.
The malaria control program in Thailand will set up special malaria services at the Thai-Myanmar border and in the southern provinces (Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat) experiencing insurgency.  To provide effective diagnostics, treatment and prevention in the area, the Department of Public Health collaborates with local health authorities to set up special malaria posts in the villages in the south.  Local people are trained to conduct rapid diagnostic tests, give prompt treatment for positive cases, and provide long-lasting treated bed nets to villagers.  The Malaria Task Force established in 1995 collaborates with Mahidol University, other research institutes, and humanitarian agencies such as the Keenan Institute Asia, American Refugee Committee International, Malteser International, International Rescue Committee to provide malaria control programs along the Thai-Myanmar border.  International NGOs provide malaria services to approximately 140,000 people in nine refugee camps.  Outside the camps, IRC and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) offer malaria referral services to migrants.

B. Calls for Submission

(6) Call for Manuscripts: Community Disaster Recovery and Resiliency: Exploring Global Opportunities and Challenges

Community Disaster Recovery and Resiliency: Exploring Global Opportunities and Challenges, an edited and peer-reviewed volume, provides a forum for policy makers, students, scholars, community organizations, and citizens to discuss community trauma during the pre- and post- (immediate and long-term) disaster response and recovery periods as it is experienced around the globe. The editors of this volume are calling for diverse community examples as a framework to facilitate a candid, in-depth comparison of the best practices illustrating how communities experience disaster, recover from it, and affect social policies in such a way that the community’s vulnerability to disaster is reduced.  Chapter proposals in reference to opportunities and challenges to international community recovery are being accepted in the following areas: Building and Public Infrastructure; Social and Cultural Revitalization (including formal and informal social support networks); Economic Revitalization; Public Health and Safety; Housing and Housing Policy; and Private-Public Partnerships for Building Sustainable Communities.  Send a title, an abstract, and a 3- to 5-page double-spaced chapter proposal, in English, by June 1, 2008, to DeMond Miller at

C. Conferences and Courses

(7) 2nd Regional course on the Use of GIS and RS in Disaster Risk Management – Bangkok, Thailand: 5-16 May 2008

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  The course provides an excellent opportunity for professionals and practitioners to obtain essential skills and knowledge in GIS and RS and their current application in disaster risk management. Participants will gain practical and technical knowledge on the uses of GIS and RS in disaster prevention, preparedness and emergency response.  Extensive exercises and simulations provide an insight into how GIS and RS tools are applied in these fields, and the benefits and solutions that can be presented.  The course is co-organized with the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observations and the Asian Institute of Technology.  Further information and the application form are available at the following links: or or  For further information pls contact: Mr. Falak Nawaz, ADPC, +66 2 516 5900 to 10, Ext 330, email:,

(8) 7th Annual Meeting of the Regional Consultative Committee for Disaster Management – Colombo, Sri Lanka, 8-10 May 2008

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  ADPC’s Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) will hold its 7th meeting with the theme of rights based, community led disaster risk management. The meeting will also have sessions on lessons learnt from recent disasters, progress made on the implementation of the RCC Program on Mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development (RCC MDRD), the ongoing global campaign on Hospitals Safe from Disasters and on progress on implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).  The event is co-hosted with the Government of Sri Lanka with support from the Government of Australia.

(9) 8th Regional Training Course on Earthquake Vulnerability Reduction for Cities – Bangkok, Thailand: 9-20 June 2008

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  The course is designed to impart greater understanding of the causes and effects of earthquake and collateral hazards, primarily focusing on mitigating such impacts in order to reduce damage and loss of lives with sustained development.  The designed course is a blend of principles, concepts, case studies and hands-on experience of seismic risk reduction strategies.  Further information and the application form are available at the following link:  For further information pls contact: Mr. Falak Nawaz, ADPC, +66 2 516 5900 to 10, Ext 330, email:,

(10) Multi-hazard Risk Assessment – Enschede, Netherlands: 30 June – 18 July 2008

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  The course provides an opportunity to enhance the capabilities of executive managers and technical staff involved in disaster risk management by providing them with understanding on the use of spatial information in disaster risk management.  The course is co-organized with the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observations.  For more information please go to:

D. Useful Resources

(11) Google Earth Outreach program for non-profit organizations

Google Inc. has unveiled a new feature for Google Earth that gives NGOs and charities the skills and resources to use Google Earth and Maps to highlight their cause to a mass audience.  Once GoogleEarth is loaded onto your computer, you can zoom in to different areas of the world to get placemarks with information.  The placemarks are categorized with different icons representing different types of information It means campaigners can overlay written, audio and video information onto Google Earth and explain their work to a worldwide audience.  Information provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for example, explain where the refugees have come from and what problems they face while users look at satellite images of refugee hot spots such as Darfur, Iraq and Colombia.  Other organizations that have added layers include Greenpeace and UNICEF.  To access the Google Earth Outreach program, click here:

(12) Safer Cities 20: Community Based Early Warning System and Evacuation: Planning, Development and Testing, Luneta and Molina, 2008

ADPC, through the Program for Hydro-Meteorological Disaster Mitigation in Secondary Cities in Asia (PROMISE), published this latest case study in the Safer Cities series.  The case study of Dagupan City illustrates the significance of setting up and operationalizing an early warning system and evacuation plan for flood to draw people together in pursuit of collective action towards building safe and resilient communities.  To download, please go to:

(13) Climate Variability and Change: Adaptation to Drought in Bangladesh, ADPC-FAO, 2007

A Resource Book and Training Guide, this is a reference and training guide for building the capacity of agricultural extension workers and development professionals to deal with climate change impacts and adaptation, specifically targeting drought-prone areas of Bangladesh.  Based on an initial needs assessment and feedback from the national and local-level technical working group members, the manual is presented as a series of modules containing background information as well as suggestions for application of the information.  Technical definitions are drawn from the “Climate Change 2001 Synthesis Report” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  To download, please go to:

(14) Climate Variability and Change: Adaptation to Drought in Bangladesh, ADPC-FAO, 2007

Within the broader framework of climate change adaptation, this report looks at past drought impacts, local perceptions of droughts, anticipated climate change and its related impacts, and viable adaptation options for drought-prone areas of Bangladesh.  This includes assessment of current vulnerability, coping strategies and future climate-related risks and adaptation strategies.  To download, please go to: 

(15) Towards Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into the Planning Process of Road Construction: Philippines, ADPC, 2008

The ADPC Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) on Disaster Management under its program on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development (MDRD) have identified Roads and Infrastructure, Agriculture, Education, Health, Housing and Financial Services as priority sectors to initiate mainstreaming disaster risk reduction.  Three country documents are now available under this program:

(16) Country Focus 8: Thailand

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 Thailand:

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