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Strategic Planning Workshop on Management of the Dead and the Missing in Disasters (MDM)

7-8 March 2007, Bangkok, Thailand

Background 

Disasters can cause large numbers of deaths and missing persons in a short period of time, placing overwhelming stress on individuals and communities, and presenting authorities with uncommon challenges in managing the dead and missing.

 
Wat Yan Yao, Phuket
Dr. L. Matic/2004

Following disasters, the management or mismanagement of the dead and the missing has consequences for the well being of survivors and the community as a whole. Respect for the dead is practiced and valued by all cultures and religions. Humane treatment of the dead is important for survivors regardless of religion or tradition. An effective and efficient response to management of the dead and the missing will also reduce the economic costs of response, recovery and rehabilitation phases of mass fatality disasters. Communities, sub-national, national governments and international governments and organizations to support MDM activities spent many millions of dollars of resources during the 2004 tsunami.

The recent and continuing experience of disasters and their associated challenges demonstrates that there is a need to strengthen the national and regional capacity to manage the dead and missing in disasters in Asia.

 MDM Program 

In response to the many challenges resulting from the management of the dead and the missing (MDM), WHO and ADPC proposed a program strategy aimed at building public health MDM capacity at international and national levels

WHO and ADPC conducted the first MDM workshop in October 2005. The goal of the workshop was to enhance a multi-sectoral approach to public health MDM in countries affected by mass-fatality natural disasters and to contribute to the creation of a regional network of experts for international assistance.

The workshop provided a useful forum to share information and experience among participants representing national and international organizations from the fields of health, disaster management, and police. However, it was recognized that the establishment of a more sustainable approach, such as the establishment of a regional network and

the development of national and international capacities, would require further engagement and support of international and national stakeholders.


First International Workshop on Management of the Dead and the Missing in Disasters 24-28October 2005 Thailand
PHE Team, ADPC/2005

As a follow-up from the first MDM workshop, WHO-WPRO and SEARO, UNOCHA and ADPC held a meeting on 22 March 2006 in Bangkok to explore possible involvement and collaboration of regional stakeholders in MDM. The participants reinforced the view that MDM is a multi-sectoral set of activities which requires the support and commitment of multiple stakeholders. The meeting concluded that a multi-agency MDM planning group was required to develop MDM capacity at national and international levels. It was recognized that MDM is primarily a national responsibility involving many different Ministries, including Health, Police, Justice, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Social Welfare and the Armed Forces. The role of international organizations was to work with these to develop national preparedness for MDM.

It was recommended that the planning group, together with national representatives, would define the strategic direction of the program. It was also recommended that ADPC develop an MDM Program paper to serve as a basis for discussion by the planning group and that the planning group should consider how to obtain stakeholder and donor support for a comprehensive and sustainable MDM program.

Strategic Planning Workshop 

The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center together with its partners from the Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) and South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) of the World Health Organization conducted a Strategic Planning Workshop on the Management of the Dead and the Missing in Disasters. The workshop was held at Grand Fortune Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand from 7-8 March 2007.

Participants from the Ministries of Health of the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand attended the workshop together with the representatives from World Health Organization (WHO), International Police (INTERPOL), International Organization of Migration (IOM), United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), European Commission on Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and the Embassy of the Royal Government of Norway and British Embassy.


MDM Strategic Planning Workshop Participants & Organizers, 7-8 March 2007, Thailand
PHE Team, ADPC/2007

Consultants from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Chiangmai University and Geneva together with the PHE Team of ADPC provided the facilitation for the workshop.

Workshop Objectives

  1. To define strategic directions for developing national and international MDM capabilities for the Asia Pacific region 

  2. To develop strategies for the implementation and sustainability of priority capacity building activities
     

Workshop Outcomes 

  1. A draft regional strategic plan identifying priority capacity building activities for MDM, such as training packages and activities, guideline development and MDM coordination mechanisms for international and national response.

  2. Agreement to develop a proposal for MDM capacity building in the Asia Pacific region.

  3. Establishment of a practical committee/working party structure of stakeholders to develop and implement the strategic plan and associated activities
     

Download resources

Further information 

Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
P.O. Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand
Tel:  +66 2 516 5900 to 10, Ext 424, 351, or 420 Fax: +66 2 524 5360 www.adpc.net 


Public Health in Emergencies Team

Frederick John B. Abo, RN
Technical Manager
fjbabo@adpc.net

Sanjeeb K. Shakya
Project Coordinator
sanjeeb@adpc.net

 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
   
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