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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

30 November 2007
Issue No. 53

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 November and December 2007

  • BANGLADESH – BDPC conducted a day-long workshop on the Role of Media in Disaster Risk Management on November 21. This workshop aimed for orienting 22 media participants, from both electronic and print media, on community-based disaster risk management practice, and develops strategies for the involvement of media in support of the community action.  The workshop was held at Hotel Pavillion, East Nasirabad, Chittagong.  As a follow up to the review meeting with City Corporation officials on the progress of implementation of small scale mitigation projects, Mr. Abu Sadat, assistant engineer of CCC, provided the technical drawing of the latrine for the school cum shelter and revised the cost estimation for the project ‘Improvement of drainage system to address the problem of water logging’. Mr. Arambepola with a team of ADPC met with Mr. Rezaul Karim, city planner of CCC, on November 14 to discuss about the forthcoming city level workshop in Chittagong with the aim to develop city disaster management plan. A follow up meeting between Mr. Reza and PROMISE-BD team was held on November 20 to discuss the conduct of the event.  Mr. Reza advised the team to seek permission from the honorable acting City Mayor to grace the event as a guest of honor and to request him to kindly agree the proposal.  PROMISE-BD team held two meetings with the respective school authority and the school disaster management committee for developing school disaster management plan for the pilot school. They have identified the connecting roads from the nearby community towards the school for designing safe evacuation route.  The roles and responsibilities in different phases of disaster will be identified in succeeding meetings with the members of the SDMC.
    A devastating cyclone called ‘Sidr’ hit the coastal district of Bangladesh in the night of November 15 to 16, causing extensive deaths, damage to assets including the dwelling houses and standing crops of the field. The meteorological department hoisted warning signal number nine on November 13, and the PROMISE-BD team maintained regular contact with the Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP) focal person and disseminated the news to the change agents (CAs). Just after the warning signal, the CAs in cooperation with the respective Ward Commissioner office started announcing requesting the community people to move to the cyclone shelter.  Dry food was distributed by them among the people who took shelter. After the cyclone the CAs took active part in emergency response. The Ward disaster management committee and some of the CAs went to the southern part of the country and are still working there.

  • PAKISTAN – PROMISE-Pakistan team continued preparations for the consultative workshop in December 2007 that is designed to develop the city action plan.  The updates on the report on ‘Participatory Hazard Mapping and Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment’ are still under process.

  • PHILIPPINES – The City Council pursued the initiative of drafting a City  Ordinance on having an Emergency Operation Center.  The PROMISE team followed up and commented on the Draft of the Ordinance 367 authored by Councilor Farah Decano; the proposed ordinance will institutionalize a 24-hour Emergency Operation Center (EOC) office for the City with regular staff and a physical facility, and to officially adapt the DRM and CDCC Manual drafted by the TWG.  TWG had a meeting on November 23, 2007 to discuss the updates regarding the following: case studies for ADPC on early warning systems; case study on Barangay Mangin CBDM for Oxfam GB (with video documentation on the first week of December), updates on the recently concluded barangay election, CBDRM orientation for the newly elected officials, and small-scale mitigation projects for the high-risk communities.  Ms. Luneta of CDP shared the PROMISE CBDRM and COPRAP experience for Plan Timor Leste Staff. There usual hazard is conflict related but due to the upcoming rainy season the IDP camps might experience flooding which the Philippines have very rich experience on. Presentations on the CBDRM PROMISE Dagupan experience provided rich information for the participants, especially on child-oriented participatory risk assessment and planning.

  • SRI-LANKA – Sarvodaya held a cluster meeting was held on November 8to discuss the future activities for establishing an EOC for Kalutara.  The aims and objectives of the discussion was explained by Ms Priyanka Mudalige and the present status of the existing EOC is explained by Captain Sanjeewa Samaranayake.  A SWOT analyze was done to analyze the gap to be bridged when working towards the well established EOC from the prevailing situation.  Present at the meeting from DMC Kalutara were Mr. A. Karunanayake, Coordinator, Cpt. Sanjeewa Samaranayake, Assistant Coordinator, and U.D.R Jayasoma; present from PROMISE-SL were Ms. Priyanka Mudalige, Ms. Hansika Hemanayake, and Mr. Menake Wijesinghe, Project Director.  GPS Locations were taken in  flood affected areas of Kalutara on  November 21 and 28 with the support of NBRO and the Irrigation office of Kalutara.  The GPS readings will be given to Dr. Nandalal for further improvement of the flood model.  Training programs for craftsmen and contractors on construction rules in disaster prone areas were held on November 27 and 30 at Kalutara.  2nd program on Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction was held from 12th to 16th of November, 2007 under the same agreement which was made between SLILG and Sarvodaya Community Disaster Management Centre.  PROMISE-SL and the Sri Lanka Institute of Local Government held the National Training Programme on Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction for 26 participants who are working in local government institutions of Kalutara, SLILG, Sarvodaya and the National Building Research Organization.

  • VIETNAM – CECI and the Construction Department are revising and finalizing the guidelines on safe construction techniques.  Work has begun on the small-scale disaster mitigation projects.  Detailed design and cost estimates are developed and being checked by CECI.  Some of emergency facilties such as life jackets, life buoys, helmets, hand loudspeakers were delivered to emergency rescue team of wards and sections. Those equipment were delivered in time to help the community be better prepared to the second largest flood that ever happened in the central region of Vietnam (at some places, water level were approximately that of the historic 1999 flood).  Preparations continue for the drawing competition on Disaster Preparedness and living Environment Protection for 4th and 5th grade pupils of school in the three project wards.  A meeting was held with the Educational Department of Cam Le district and five primary schools of the three wards participating in the training.  The plan for the competition was finalised. The competition will be at school and district level, and around 400 pupils will participate in the competition scheduled for early December 2007.  The website for Promise Vietnam is now under development.


(1) Typhoons Mitag and Hagibis in Southeast Asia

(based on reports from AlertNet and NDCC)
Thousands of people were evacuated from coastal areas of two northern Philippine provinces after Typhoon Mitag changed course overnight and veered north. The storm, with winds of 175 km per hour (108 mph) at its centre, hit the provinces of Isabela and Aurora on November 25.  Authorities in both provinces ordered evacuations of coastal areas and barred fishermen from going to sea.  At least four people had been killed in Bicol in rains on the periphery of the typhoon system, radio reports said.  Before the typhoon changed its course for the north, disaster officials had a preemptive evacuation of over 160,000 people from their homes in Bicol, where volcanic mud from the slopes of Mount Mayon can trigger lethal landslides. Although the typhoon was likely to miss the region, officials said they had still not allowed the evacuees to return home.  The casualties numbered 31, with 21 missing including two pilots involved in SAR operations.

Mitag comes less than a week after tropical storm Hagibis, which killed 13 people in the country before heading across the South China Sea to Vietnam.  Typhoon Hagibis damaged some PhP 21 million worth of infrastructure, crops and property in Central and Eastern Visayas.  The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Central Visayas (RDCC 7) report released Thursday said the region-wide damage to infrastructure cost P17.56 million.  Hagibis proceeded to pass over several south-central Vietnam provinces, disrupting the coffee harvest and endangering fishermen, officials said on Saturday. Nearly 31,000 people were evacuated to safety.  Hundreds more fisherman from China, Vietnam and the Philippines were stranded on the Nansha Islands, a group of islets, reefs and sand banks also known as the Spratlys. Sovereignty over the islands is contested.  Vietnam asked nearby countries to give shelter to thousands of its fishermen from a tropical storm now nearing the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea. 

(2) Cyclone in Bangladesh, November 15

(based on reports from AlertNet, ReliefWeb and USAID)
Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on November 15 with winds of up to 250 kph and triggered a 5-meter storm surge.  Over 600,000 people were evacuated from the coasts, 200,000 of which were in Cox’s Bazar.  Chittagong and Mongla ports suspended operations on Wednesday and moved ships to safer areas, while Chittagong airport suspended flights and moved planes away.  All schools and colleges in Chittagong and other towns in the storm's path were been shut.  In spite of preparations, about 3,500 people died.  Thousands of people lost their homes and relief was not able to reach all survivors in time due to a lack of coordination in the field.  Diarrhea and other diseases broke out in some affected districts.  IFRC has raised an appeal for USD 22.2 million to assist the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.  The funds will be used to provide affected individuals and families in nine districts with immediate relief, shelter, health, water and sanitation and early recovery assistance, as well as support for future capacity building and disaster risk reduction.  USAID has pledged USD 10 million in Food for Peace assistance, and USD 14.4 million in emergency funds, commodities and transportation to assist relief efforts in Bangladesh. 

(3) Iraq dam collapse?

(based on a report from the BBC)
BBC News Online reported that the largest dam in Iraq is at risk of collapsing, potentially unleashing a 20-metre (65-foot) wave of water on Mosul. It says U.S. officials told Iraqi authorities in May to make Mosul Dam a national priority, as a catastrophic failure would result in a "significant loss of life".  A $27m U.S.-funded project to help shore up the dam has made little or no progress, according to a report by a U.S. watchdog which says reconstruction has been dogged by mismanagement. A serious collapse would jeopardize Mosul's 1.7 million residents and could cause flooding along the Tigris River all the way to Baghdad.  To access the US SIGIR report, go to:

(4) Building Byelaws of Mangalore City Corporation

The Building Byelaws (Building Codes) of Mangalore City Corporation are being reviewed.  The draft byelaws based on the recommendations of the Technical Committee Report on revising the Building Byelaws for Mangalore City are available for public scrutiny.  On reciept of comments from the stakeholders within the limits of the City Corporation and revised, if required, the new Byelaws (Codes) would come into force 90 days from publication.  Contact Mr. Sanjeev Santhosh at  for more information.  The revised Byelaws (Codes) are available at the website of the Mangalore City Corporation at and the url for the document is


(5) Call for Papers: “International Conference-Workshop on the 17 February 2006 Guinsaugon, Landslide”

The University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) is calling for papers on disasters due to landslides in the Philippines for the “International Conference-Workshop on the 17 February 2006 Guinsaugon, Landslide”. The conference will take place in Tacloban City, Leyte on April 28 to 30.  The post-conference workshop and fieldwork will be on May 1 & 2, 2008, in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte, Philippines.  The contributions should be on other aspects of landslide disasters including hazard and risk assessment, monitoring and warning systems, structural and non-structural mitigation methods, community-based landslide risk management practices, capacity building and public awareness, and land use planning. Preference will be given to studies of Philippine landslides or those that are applicable to the Philippine setting.  The conference is organized in cooperation with Mayor Rico C. Rentuza of St. Bernard, Southern Leyte and the University of Waterloo, Canada, will be organizing the The conference is an activity under the Asian Program for Regional Capacity Enhancement for Landslide Impact Mitigation (RECLAIM).  To download the conference documents, more>>

(6) Call for Papers: 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2008)

Organizers of a special academic session on "Virtual Teams and Virtual Communities in Emergency Preparedness and Response" have issued a call for papers. The 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) 2008 conference will be held in Washington, DC, on May 4-7, 2008.  Papers are invited that provide data from studies of the use of virtual teams or virtual communities in the design or use of emergency management information systems, with data collection methods ranging from laboratory or field experiments to qualitative case studies.  Papers are due December 21, 2007. Details on paper submission and the complete call for papers can be found at


(7) 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction – New Delhi, India: November 7 to 8, 2007

ADPC partnered the 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction from 7-8 November 2007 in New Delhi, organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs in India. The theme of the conference was ‘Development without Disasters’, one of the goals of which was to review the implementation of the Hyogo Priorities of Action in Asia in the context of various initiatives taken by national, regional and international bodies and governments during the past two years.  ADPC, represented by a high-level delegation, led a pre-conference Event 04 on “Meeting the Challenges of Disaster Risk Reduction in Communities and Cities: Building on Good Practices in the Asian Region” on 6 November. Presentations were made on two sub themes: Lessons Learnt from Disaster Risk Reduction Programs and Strengthening Community Resilience in Asia and Promoting Urban Risk Reduction and Strengthening Resilience in Cities. For more information, more>> 

(8) Cities on Volcanoes 5 (COV5) – Shimabara, Japan: November 19-23, 2007

Cities on Volcanoes (COV) is a forum for volcanologists, city planners, authorities, and businesses to meet and discuss the effects of volcanic eruptions on society, infrastructure, and economic development, and ways to mitigate these effects. In addition to highlighting recent volcanological research, COV5 focused on volcanic crisis preparedness and management in densely populated areas.  The conference was hosted by the City of Shimabara and the Volcanological Society of Japan (VSJ).  More information is at


(9) Social Development Website, ADB, 2007

The Asian Development Bank has developed a new website of resources on social development.  Social development is a cross-cutting approach to development that promotes policies and institutions in support of greater inclusiveness and equity in access to services, resources and opportunities, greater empowerment of poor and marginalized groups, and greater security to cope with the chronic or sudden risks, especially for the poor and marginalized groups.  The site has links on social protection, a concept that refers to policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labor markets, diminishing people's exposure to risks, enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and interruption/loss of income.  The social development site can be found
here:, while the social protection site can be found

(10) Updated World Map of the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, Peel et al., 2007

Although it is now over 100 years old, the Köppen-Geiger system of climate classification is still widely used by teachers and researchers. Developed in the 1800s, it assigns the climate at any particular location to one of five general categories (tropical, arid, temperate, cold, or polar) and adds subdivisions based on annual temperature and precipitation. Murray C. Peel, a geographer at the University of Melbourne in Australia, has updated system and produced a new global climate map based on data from more than 4,200 weather stations that have been collecting precipitation and temperature data for at least 30 years. According to the new map, the most common climate type by land area is Hot Desert (14.2% of total land area), followed by Tropical savannah (11.5% of total land area).  Peel, Brian Finlayson and Tom McMahon published an article on the updated system.  The abstract, full paper, and the updated map as an image file (.jpg) and as a raster file (ArcMap), can be downloaded for free at:  Also available at this site are files containing the precipitation and temperature variables for all stations used in the construction of the updated map. 

(11) World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention – WHO, 2004

The World report on road traffic injury prevention is the first major report being jointly issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank on this subject.  To download the document, more>> 

(12) Country Focus 3: Indonesia

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 Indonesia: 

·         Indonesia Country Study under the Good Urban Governance in South Asia project funded by USAID-Indonesia: more>>

·         Safer Cities 10: Creating earthquake preparedness in schools, August 2004:

·         Standard Operation Procedure for Urban Disaster Management in the Municipality of Bandung, March 2000:

·         PDR-SEA document on Policy and Institutional Arrangement for Disaster Management in Indonesia, 2001:

·         ISDR Profile of Indonesia:

·         AlertNet’s profile of Indonesia:

·         CHRR’s natural disaster profile of Indonesia:

·         REDAT profile of Indonesia:

·         ADB Portal on Indonesia:  

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