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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

28 February 2007 
Issue No. 44

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 processes of finalizing project proposals, and formulating strategies for project implementation are ongoing and city demonstration projects are expected to commence during February-March 2006.

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES for February and March 2007

·         BANGLADESH – BDPC conducted action planning workshops based on the community-level planning workshop outputs on needed activities, done in January and February. At the beginning of the workshop, project manager described the project goals, objectives and briefly explained the methodology of Community Risk Assessment. Then project staff shared the CRA output highlighting the respective community’s vulnerabilities and capacities. Finally the participants were asked to do some paper work to prepare an action plan by identifying needed activities, what organization has responsibility over needed activities, and who will do the follow-up.  The list of needed activities were related to shelter improvement, flood mitigation, an early warning system, and emergency preparedness.

BDPC has completed the conduction of all 10 mock exercises during this reporting month. The main purpose of this exercise was to promote disaster preparedness initiatives at family and community level with cooperation of City Corporation and other relevant stakeholders.  This is the endpoint of work over the past weeks, when an implementation guideline and script were prepared for the mock exercise, a number of coordination meetings were organized in the respective Ward commissioner’s office for implementing the mock exercise, generating publicity for the exercise to ensure the full participation of the community, and actors had rehearsals to ensure a better performance.

Activities for next month are the preparation and conduct of CBDRM training, and awareness-raising in public schools.

·         PAKISTAN – AKPBS(P) prepared the draft report on Hazard Mapping and Participatory Vulnerability Assessment. The report also highlights a set of broad recommendations to address the frequent problems of floods and sewage treatment cum disposal system. AKPBS(P) is currently updating and finalizing the hazard and vulnerability study.   Activity Workshops and community meetings were organised for developing proposals of small-scale mitigation projects.

·         PHILIPPINES – CDP and Dagupan City’s Technical Working Group (TWG) conducted an orientation seminar on February 6 on the PROMISE Disaster Preparedness Experience for representatives and local leaders from 23 barangays of Dagupan City.  This activity was done to initiate the involvement of the other barangays in Disaster Preparedness in Dagupan City, and to inspire them to duplicate the experience of the pilot barangays in their own barangays.  The seminar made a positive impact upon those who attended, since they come from the barangays that are not covered by the demonstration project. The PROMISE experience was shown in a presentation of Emma Molina, City Agriculturist, and a testimony from Robert Abalos (Barangay Captain of Pogo Grande, one of the 8 pilot communities). There was a question-and-answer session on the project, handled by Ms. Mayfourth Luneta of CDP. There were also some public awareness materials distributed through the event, including some posters from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), and the Filipino version of the book Christian Perspective on Disaster Management by the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP).

CDP met with USAID representatives to give project updates and present the calendars that featured the winning posters and slogans from the July 16, 2006 Disaster Preparedness celebration.

Ms. Luneta presented a paper “Child Oriented Participatory Risk Assessment and Planning” during the ProVention Consortium Forum 2007 in Tanzania last February 13 to15.  The theme of the forum was “Making Disaster Risk Reduction Work”, and around 111 participants attended the forum.  CDP was invited as a partner, and the Dagupan PROMISE experience was shared during the Partners’ Presentation, and in the exhibit where Public Awareness materials from the Project PROMISE in Dagupan was shown as well as the “kalungkong”, the local early warning device made from bamboo used by households in the demonstration barangays.

Ms. Luneta attended the Avian Influenza Meeting of Civic Organizations where they shared their AI activities.  USAID and AusAID also came to explore possibilities of helping each other fight avian influenza.  Dagupan City will be having a Medical Responders Training and possible inclusion of different hazards such as AI can be seen.

Activities for next month are holding TWG meetings for adjustments of plans and budget, preparation for the Search and Rescue Training, preparation and actual sharing of learning in Disaster Risk Management with the Baguio City Disaster Coordinating Council of Benguet Province, and the preparation and training in Hydro-Meteorological Risk Assessment in Bangkok.

·         SRI-LANKA – Sarvodaya organized a prize awarding ceremony for winners of the children’s painting competition last January.  Sarvodaya organized a hazard and vulnerability assessment workshops for communities in Kalutara held last February 8.  Future activities will be towards establishing a networking meeting of collaborating volunteers of the Early Warning System from communities upstream and downstream of Kaluganga River in the cities of Kalutara and Rathnapura.  Sarvodaya met with the Mayor and the District Secretary of Kalutara on February 21 to update them on current progress and future development of the project. 

·         VIETNAM – CECI in collaboration with the People’s Committee of Cam Le district implemented the house construction program to help the victims of Typhoon Xangsane. Through this activity, 21 out of the 23 planned houses were completed by the end of February.  The house construction was funded by CIDA and the Canadian government for the Xangsane typhoon relief programs, and the design of the houses is based on house construction models that resulted from the PROMISE-Viet Nam training and workshop on safer construction techniques held last December.  The preparations continued for CBDRM training at community level.  The activities for next month include: (1) follow up on the construction of the 2 remaining houses; (2) start to develop guidelines on urban planning and building codes; and (3) conduct training on CBDRM at community-level.



(1) Indonesia floods: DKI Jakarta Province, Bekasi and Tangerang, Banten Province

(based on reports from the Associated Press, OCHA/ReliefWeb, and BAKORNAS)

Jakarta was stricken by floods after non-stop rain from February 1 to 2, and rivers overflowed.  About 60 percent of the city was inundated at the height of the floods, as about 40% of the city is below sea level, and the area has poor drainage.  Some survivors were stranded by surging waters.  Authorities had to cut off electricity and the water supply in many districts.  During the floods, 61 people died in Jakarta and Banten as of February 21 (OCHA), and over 100,000 houses were flooded.

The general situation in flood-affected areas has returned to normal.  Dengue and diarrhea cases were reported due to stagnant and contaminated water, respiratory problems, skin infections, tetanus, leptospirosis, and other water-borne diseases.  Authorities have initiated fogging, fumigation and chlorination activities to prevent the outbreak of disease.  Medical teams go on rubber rafts into the worst-hit districts to prevent outbreaks of disease among residents without clean drinking water.

Evacuation to safer ground was necessary, and done by the government with the help of the communities themselves.  Temporary shelters have been established by local authorities, civic organizations, and the local community.  Facilities such as mosques and public schools and buildings are being used.  Local governments have established field kitchens, mobile health services and temporary shelters to respond to the overwhelming needs.  Helicopters from BAKORNAS were mobilized to distribute relief in the more isolated areas.  The army continues to assist in evacuating people and in air dropping relief items.

Seasonal heavy rainfall causes landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia.  Jakarta is regularly struck with floods, the last worst one was in 2002, with this event being worse than that flood. Dozens of slum areas near rivers are washed out each year. Some residents refuse to move, others say they cannot afford to live elsewhere.

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso blamed deforestation in nearby Puncak, while environment Minister Racmat Witoelar blamed the issue building permits despite predicted negative environmental impacts.


(2) Call for Papers: Canadian Risk and Hazards Network

 The Annual Symposium of the Canadian Risk and Hazards Network (CRHNet) welcome abstracts from emergency planners and other professionals, academics, and researchers.  This year's symposium, which will be held November 6-8, 2007, in Vancouver, focuses on the theme of Forging Partnerships for Disaster Resilient Communities.  Organizers particularly encourage presentations that demonstrate and/or discuss research-practice partnerships.  Abstracts must be submitted online; the deadline is March 31, 2007.  Abstracts may be submitted for individual oral presentations, organized sessions, panels, or posters. For further information, please contact Prof. Stephanie Chang, Program Committee Chair ( visit:

(3) Call for Abstracts: "Disaster and Emergency Management Evaluation" 

Editors of the journal "New Directions for Evaluation" are calling for abstracts for a special issue on the theme of "Disaster and Emergency Management Evaluation."  The issue aims to encourage applied, empirically based, and theoretical contributions towards the review and examination of disaster and emergency management evaluation in international and domestic settings.  Accepted abstracts will be included in the full proposal and submitted for review.  Upon approval by the editorial board, authors will be invited to submit papers of not more than 20 pages in length.  The deadline for abstracts is April 9, 2007.  For more information, visit: 

(4) Mary Fran Myers Gender and Disaster Award: 2007 Nominees Sought 

The Gender and Disaster Network and the Natural Hazards Center invite nominations from around the world those who should be recognized for their efforts to advance gender-sensitive policy, practice, or research in the areas of disaster risk reduction.  The award committee is especially interested in soliciting nominations from outside the United States and strives to enable award recipients with high travel costs to attend the Natural Hazards Center workshop in Colorado. 

Established in 2002, the Mary Fran Myers Award recognizes that vulnerability to disasters and mass emergencies is influenced by social, cultural, and economic structures that marginalize women and girls, and may also expose boys and men to harm.  The intent of this award is to recognize women and men whose advocacy, research, or management efforts have had a lasting, positive impact on reducing disaster vulnerability.  The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2007.  For more details, please contact Elaine Enarson or by phone, (204) 571-8575, or visit: 

(5) UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction 

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) is calling for the nomination of individuals or institutions for the 19th U.N. Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, for outstanding and internationally recognized action in the following fields: 

  • The implementation, at international or regional level, of activities designed to strengthen people's awareness of disasters triggered by natural hazards;

  • The launching of scientific activities contributing to technological innovation facilitating disaster prediction;

  • The launching of scientific or social activities contributing to the strengthening of disaster risk reduction;

  • The promotion of activities which reduce the economic impact of disasters and contribute to sustainable development;

  • Any other activities recognized as essential in promoting disaster risk reduction (early warning, environmental management, land use planning, promotion of building codes, awareness-raising, education, etc.).

The deadline for nominations is June 29, 2007.  For more information and the nomination packet, visit:


(6) International Meeting of Psychology in Emergencies and Disasters--Buenos Aires, Argentina: March 21-23, 2007 

Sponsored by: The Argentine Society of Psychology for Emergencies and Disasters. The theme of the conference is "The Role of Communities and Institutions in Disaster Reduction," and sessions on human factors in disaster management. For more information, visit:

(7) 68th ASPA National Conference--Monumental Possibilities: Capitalizing on Collaboration Washington, D.C.: March 23-27, 2007 

Organizer: American Society of Public Administrators (ASPA). This annual conference will focus on collaboration across sectoral and governmental lines, extending to topics such as budgeting, finance, accountability, and performance; intergovernmental and international relations; human resource management and social equity; responding to threats and disasters; public safety, law, and the courts; ethical issues and administrative courage; environmental justice, public works management and policy; housing, social services, health policy and management; environment, science, and technology; education for the public service; the political context of public service; issues in local government; and issues in federal service. Learn more at



(8) “Communicating Disasters: Building on the Tsunami Experience and Responding to Future Challenges”

 Communicating about disasters sometimes ends up as communications disasters. How can these mishaps be minimised, so that the power of established and new forms of mass media can play a more meaningful role in managing both hazards and disasters?  This was the broad question addressed during the brainstorming meeting in Bangkok last December organised by TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP) and United Nations Development Programme - Regional Centre in Bangkok (UNDP-RCB).  The meeting recognised that the media must evolve its own ethics, guidelines and strategies for covering hazards and disasters, and these cannot be imposed from outside. All participants agreed on the value of greater understanding and cooperation between media practitioners, development professionals and disaster managers.  Please find the full report here:  

(9) "Community-Based Disaster Management Toolkit" – IDEP

The Yayasan Indonesia Development of Education and Permaculture (IDEP) has a webpage of a community-based disaster management toolkit all in Bahasa Indonesia.  This toolkit contains a manual of general guidelines on preparedness and prevention of disasters at community level, a ready-to-use management form book in the event of a disaster, brochures and posters on disaster preparedness, and eight comic books on different disaster topics.  Please visit the toolkit here:

(10) 2006 Disasters in Numbers - CRED 

The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has released a two-page document of hazard and disaster statistics for 2006. A total of 395 disasters were recorded in 2006, with 226 floods, 66 windstorms, and 30 related to extreme temperatures. Disasters in 2006 killed 21,342 people, with economic damage of about $19 billion.  Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Afghanistan, Viet Nam and Pakistan are in the top ten list of countries most hit by disasters.  To read the statistics, please visit here:

(11) ADPC and the Asia Pacific Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas

The website of the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has the Asia Pacific Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas.  Under this atlas project, ADPC gathered and contributed data for Thailand and Vietnam, specifically historical hazards and disasters, infrastructure, land use, and other statistical background information.  From this, the PDC team in Hawaii has produced the “Vietnam Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas”, found here: atlas has a dynamic map viewer through which disaster spatial information may be accessed and viewed over the Internet.

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