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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

31 December 2007
Issue No. 54

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.

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES for December 2007 and January 2008

  • BANGLADESH – BDPC has begun to implement the small-scale disaster mitigation projects in the wards under PROMISE Bangladesh.  Meetings for preliminary arrangements and data gathering were conducted throughout the month.  This month, preparations were undertaken for the school simulations and for the Search-and-Rescue training targeted for January.  Activities for next month include the full-scale implementation of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects, school simulations, development of school disaster management plans, and emergency response and SAR training.

  • PAKISTAN – AKPBS,P in consultation with the six participating communities designed the small-scale disaster mitigation and their implementation are just pending funds transfer.  The following are the projects approved by ADPC: (1) Street Raising and Improving Drainage Lines in Aliabad Hyderabad; (2) Mitigating Flood through Improved Storm Water Drainage System in Maheshwari Colony, Hyderabad; (3) Reducing Vulnerability of Communities through Flood Mitigation Demo Projects in Thakur Colony, Tando Yousif, Hyderabad; (4) Reducing Physical Vulnerability through Developing Flood Mitigation Infrastructure; (5) Improving Main Pumping Station of Hali Road Latifabad Hyderabad; and (6) Installation and Rehabilitation of Draining Line in Union Council 2 Latifabad.  Terms of partnership have already been signed in five of the concerned communities.  The project ‘Improving Pumping Station of Hali Road Latifabad, Hyderabad’ was reviewed in a meeting held on December 10 with sub-District Government, Latifabad.  The sub-District Government has agreed to fund a major part of the project.

    The PROMISE Pakistan team organized two health and hygiene workshops in Thakur Colony and GOR Colony on 18 and 20 December 2007 respectively.  Thirty-four females participated during the workshop at Thakur Colony, and 27 females participated at GOR colony.  The resource persons highlighted the importance of different components of hygiene and involved participants in role playing about the causes of diseases.  Topics included: Personal Hygiene, Domestic Hygiene, Environmental Hygiene, and Food Hygiene.

    A one-day orientation training on ‘Advocacy and Networking’ was organized for 18 members of six disaster management committees formed under PROMISE project on December 11 at Latifabad.  The resource persons were Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Sheerani and Mr. Hakeem Khoso.  Topics included: Advocacy and its Importance; Issues, Goals, and Objectives: Building the Foundation; Identifying Support and Opposition; Data Collection; and Advocacy for Mainstreaming Disaster into Development Planning.

  • PHILIPPINES – On December 10, the City Council passed Ordinance 367 of 2007 creating an Emergency Operation Center of Dagupan City, which is a good step towards the sustainability and mainstreaming of disaster risk management.  The center’s annual budget is PhP 10 million (about USD 240,000): two million for operational expenses including the salary of three full time staff, and 8 million for the building of the Emergency Operation Center and its equipment.  The PROMISE Philippines team still advocates for the EOC not only to be part of the emergency scenario but be a part of the preparedness aspect like the monitoring of the impending hazards, and public awareness on hazards and preparedness for upcoming disasters.

    The Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), ADPC, All lndia Disaster Mitigation Institute, ProVention, UNDP South-South Cooperation, and CADRI formed the Training and Learning Circle (TLC).  TLC aims to help trainers and learners enhance their knowledge, skills and proper attitude in community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM).  TLC Philippines was launched on December 14.  The participants for the launching came from different local NGO’s, different international donors; and from local government units (LGUs) including Dagupan City (represented by TWG member Ms. Emma Molina); Camiguin Province, and Makati City.  There were 69 participants from different parts of the Philippines and from other countries.  Philippine PROMISE team being both trainers and learners gave their commitment to enhance CBDRM training in the country.

    Ms. Thelma Abdulrahman of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (Republic of the Philippines) coordinated with CDP and organized a one-day Consultation and Workshop on Mainstreaming DRR into the Comprehensive Development Plan and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.  Representatives from the DILG and LGUs were invited to attend the said workshop.  The objective is to rationalize (organize and synthesize) over 20 different plans of each city and municipality into a single comprehensive development plan that includes their DRR.  PROMISE Philippines Team members made presentations during the workshop: Ms. Lorna Victoria of CDP presented the different concepts of DRR, while Ms. Molina of Dagupan City Government presented the Dagupan Experience highlighting their disaster risk reduction plans.  Ms. Luneta of CDP and Mr. Rhoderick Dawis of Dagupan City Government attended the event held on December 20 at the Rembrandt Hotel in Quezon City.

    Activities for next month include: Community Landslide Risk Reduction Seminar of the Asian Program for Regional Capacity Enhancement for Landslide Impact Mitigation (RECLAIM); Study Tour of Different Oxfam Organizations in Dagupan City; and Study Tour of the TWG and CDCC in Pampanga and Manila.

  • SRI-LANKA –PROMISE Sri Lanka is in a process of getting nationally-accepted SOPs for the Disaster Management Centre – Kalutara.  The national government maintains uniqueness in all the SOPs implemented by district-level DMCs, so the project has linked its efforts with the national-level DMC, through the assistance of Ms. Geethi Karunarathne of the DMC.  Sarvodaya is now the first NGO sharing this type of task with the DMC.  GPS locations were taken of the places submerged by flood during the rainy season. Technical support was provided by the NBRO for the task.  The detailed report by Mr. Dharmasena of NBRO and the completed map of the potential locations for flood gauges were handed over to Dr. Nandalal of the Univ. of Peradeniya to calibrate the Kalu Ganga flood model he developed.  Additional small-scale disaster mitigation projects are being developed, one on drainage of Daham Road in Kalutara, and another on micro-credit scheme to reduce vulnerability.  Planned activities for the next month include: CBDRM training for 50 volunteers of Kalutara; complete the task of development of SOP s to Kalutara EOC; to work on initiating mitigation projects; installation of flood gauges along the Kalu river; start activities on land use planning; and initiate micro-credit program.

  • VIETNAM – CECI conducted a drawing competition on Disaster Preparedness and Living Environment Protection in primary schools of the three project wards was held successfully with participation from 410 pupils from 4th and 5th grade. The objectives of the competition were to (i) highlight the importance of raising awareness on disaster preparedness and living environment protection for community members of all ages; (ii) collect drawings that could eventually be used by the project team to develop training and awareness material on disaster preparedness and living environment protection as well as disaster risk mitigation issues. The competition covered different themes specified as Activities that children can do to help family to prepare for coping a disaster and keeping living environment clean; Early warning systems, Communication during a disaster, Role of the community before, during and after a disaster, Safe evacuation, Clean water and hygiene and Rescue activities.  Winning entries will be used to develop picture books and a 2008 calendar with awareness-raising messages and “do” and “don’t” advice.  The competition was held in collaboration with the Education Department of Cam Le district and involved teachers, people’s committee of wards, and the district project steering committee. 

    Development of design and cost estimates of the four approved structural subprojects, namely upgrading of flood drain, inter-field dyke sections (two sections) and evacuation bridge and road, continued to proceed. As part of the capacity building strategy, the consultant engineer of the project assisted the district and ward in revising the designs and cost estimates to ensure technicality and sustainability of these projects. Meetings were held between the project teams and ward’s PC and designer to finalize the design options and agree on the local community’s contribution as well as project’s contribution. It was expected that design and cost estimates of the mentioned projects would be finalized and submitted to the district for their appraisal and evaluation in early January 2008, and construction would start afterwards.

    The project team has finished revision of the other two subprojects, Community Awareness Raising on Disaster Preparedness and Building Practices and Improving Emergency Response of Cam Le district. Proposals were sent to ADPC team for their comments and approval.  In preparation for implementation of the Community Awareness Raising on Disaster Preparedness and Building Practices, a refresher course on lesson planning and practicum was held for 14 Change Agents (five females and nine males) of the six wards of Cam le district and Ngu Hanh Son district. The purpose of was to strengthen their CBDRM delivery skills and promote an exchange of experience between the newly trained and experienced trainers.

A. FROM THE REGION

(1) Avalanche kills 13 in northeast Afghanistan, December 11
(based on a report from IRIN)

Thirteen people were killed by an avalanche in northeastern Afghanistan on December 11 according to the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA).  Four people were injured and 15 were rescued alive.  Extreme winter conditions and avalanches are also a recurrent feature in mountainous areas that make up about 63 percent of the country, according to The Environment Times, a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) publication. 

(2) Avian and Human Influenza initiative launched

The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), CARE, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have formed a partnership to implement the “Strengthening Community Based Approaches to Management of Avian and Human Influenza in Asia” project.  We invite all individuals and organisations involved in community-based management of AHI in the Asia region to take part in the project by sharing your experiences.  Please visit our website to access newsletters, project news and events, and schedules of meetings: http://www.adpc.net/communityAHI-Asia/Default.asp.  The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank. 

(3) Floods and landslides in Indonesia
(based on reports from IRIN, Reuters and BBC)

Torrential rains throughout Indonesia since mid-December have caused numerous landslides in central Java and extensive flooding in most of Java, West Sumatra and West Nusa Tenggara.  Landslides and floods triggered by heavy rain have left more than 120 people dead or missing on Indonesia's Java island.  Overflow from the Bengawan Solo River submerged 6616 houses as floods rose as high as two meters in most parts of the city.  About 40 people were missing after floods swept away a bridge in Madiun district.  In neighbouring Central Java province, about 1,000 rescuers, police and soldiers worked to unearth people buried in mud from steep slopes in Tawangmangu, a hilly area that has been hardest hit by landslides on Java.  Landslides and floods are regular in Indonesia and many blame deforestation.

B. CALLS FOR SUBMISSION

(4) Call for Papers: Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Management

The joint Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Management combines the programs offered by the 3rd International China Workshop on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM-CHINA) and the 4th International Symposium on Geo-Information for Disaster Management (Gi4DM). The language of the conference is English.  Papers are invited that deal with any aspect of the design, development, deployment, operation, or evaluation of information systems for crisis management (ISCRAM track) and/or the collection, management, analysis, sharing and visualization of geo-information for disaster management (Gi4DM track).

Authors should focus on the tools, functionality, and/or interfaces that are being or should be provided to human users involved with crisis response and management. Contributions are invited that cover crisis management in any phase, intersection of phases, and/or integration of phases of Planning, Training, Mitigation, Detection, Alerting, Response, Recovery, and Assessment.

Prospective authors must submit an abstract of their paper by January 15, 2008, and indicate whether they submit to the ISCRAM track (for papers focusing on Information Systems) or to the Gi4DM track (for papers focusing on Geo-Information).  Upon acceptance, authors will be invited to submit their full paper by April 1, 2008. All abstracts and papers will be evaluated and selected by the International Scientific Committee.  Abstracts and full papers must use the Conference Template which is available from http://www.iscram.org (ISCRAM-CHINA2008 menu).  Submissions by e-mail only to the following address: iscramchina@hrbeu.edu.cn.  For more information, please go to: http://www.iscram.org/ and http://www.conference-heu.com/.

 (5) Call for Applications: Summer Academy on Vulnerability

The Munich Re Foundation and the United Nations University Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) have announced the third annual Summer Academy on Social Vulnerability, with a theme of “Environmental Change, Social Vulnerability, and Migration.”  The 2008 Summer Academy will be held July 20-26, 2008, at the historic Hohenkammer Castle (Schloss Hohenkammer) in the countryside outside of Munich, Germany.  Qualified Ph.D. candidates working on dissertations related to environmental change, migration, and social vulnerability are invited to apply for the 2008 Summer Academy by January 15, 2008.  Applications should be submitted online at www.ehs.unu.edu

(6) Call for Papers: Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition

The Natural Hazards Center is pleased to announce its fifth annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition.  Papers may present current research, literature reviews, theoretical arguments, or case studies.  Subject matter may include, but is not limited to, floods/floodplain management, Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes, climate change, warning systems, hazard mitigation, emergency management, vulnerability, or other topics relevant to the social/behavioral aspects of hazards and disasters.  Papers will be judged on their originality, organization, and demonstrated knowledge of the topic.  One undergraduate and one graduate winner each will receive $100; mention in the Natural Hazards Observer; publication on the Natural Hazards Center Web site; and an invitation to the Annual Hazards Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, registration fees included.  The deadline for submission is March 14, 2008.  Additional information is available at: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/awards/paper-competition.html.

C.   CONFERENCES AND COURSES

(7) Mountain GIS e-Conference: January 14 to 25, 2008

The two-week GIS (geographic information systems) e-conference is being organised jointly by ICIMOD and the Mountain Forum Secretariat (MFS) to promote geo-information science and technology for integrated mountain development.  The free e-conference accepts paper submissions and showcases of an organization’s work.  The conference themes include applications and decision support systems for and vulnerability mapping.  To participate or get more information, please go to the website: http://www.mtnforum.org/rs/ec/index.cfm?econfid=15

(8) International Symposium on the Restoration Program from Giant Earthquakes and Tsunamis – Phuket, Thailand: January 22 to 24, 2008

The symposium marks the end of the three-year project “The Restoration Program from Giant Earthquakes and Tsunamis”.  This symposium will bring together leading researchers related to the project, in the field of seismology, civil engineering and social sciences to elaborate the proposal toward ultimate restoration from the earthquake and tsunami disasters in the affected countries due to the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, and also discuss future development of measures for the mitigation of disasters due to giant earthquakes and tsunamis. Establishing networks of international and interdisciplinary researchers will be encouraged.  For more information, go to the webpage: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/sumatra/index-e.html or contact Professor Teruyuki Kato, Earthquake Research Institute, the University of Tokyo, teru@eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp.

D.  USEFUL RESOURCES

(9) Disaster Risk Reduction: 2007 Global Review, UNISDR, 2007

The Disaster Risk Reduction: 2007 Global Review contrasts and compares contemporary trends and patterns in disaster risk with the progress being made by countries in implementing the priorities for action outlined by the Hyogo Framework.  The Review identifies scenarios of intensive risk (where concentrations of people and economic activities are likely to experience catastrophic disaster impacts from large-scale hazard events) and scenarios of extensive risk (where more dispersed populations are likely to experience highly localised, low intensity but cumulative disaster impacts from small-scale, mainly climatic hazards).  To download the document, please go to: http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/publications/v.php?id=1130

(10) Communicating Disasters: An Asia Pacific Resource Book, TVE-AP and UNDP Bangkok, 2007

Communicating Disasters: An Asia Pacific Resource Book looks at how information, education and communication can help create disaster resilient communities across the Asia Pacific.  It brings together 21 authors who share their experiences and insights on effective communication before, during and after disasters.  The book has a special focus on the communication lessons learned from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  The book is co-published by TVE Asia Pacific and the UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok. 

(11) Avalanche Research Media Library

This site contains a large collection of videos, accident reports, photographs, maps, television shows, and audio files about avalanches.  The site lists a goal of acting as a memory bank for the avalanche community on both a local and global scale.  Users can browse the collection and submit their own videos and documents for the community.  To visit the site, please go to: http://www.avalanche-research.com/

(12) Country Focus 4: Nepal

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 Nepal:

 
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