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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

30 June 2008
Issue No. 60

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 January to March 2008 are: implementing the small-scale mitigation projects for each city, preparing for city-level workshops on disaster mitigation, promoting school safety, planning for the conduct of national courses, and development of case study material.

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES for March and April 2008:

  • BANGLADESH BDPC continued the implementation of the community mitigation project for adding WatSan facilities to a school cum evacuation shelter in Ward 37 this month.  The other projects are termporarily on hold, and will be completed by July.  PROMISE-BD organized a drill on May 27 at Kapasgola City Corporation Girls High School & College to test the effectiveness of the March training course on emergency response and Search-and-Rescue, and the mobilization of trained CAs.  The drill had the full participation of 90 participants from the City Corporation, the local community and WDRMC.  The Bangladesh Red Crescent and Chittagong Fire Service co-organized the drill.  PROMISE-BD is helping Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) to develop standard operating procedure (SOP) for its emergency control room.  A guideline was developed for the SOP and it will be shared with the CCC next month for finalization.  PROMISE-BD team has developed a guideline for land use planning and construction regulation, and it will also be shared with the CCC and the Chittagong Development Authority next month for finalization.  PROMISE-BD was involved in the preparations of the Bangladesh delegation to the 2008 Working Group Meeting.  Activities for next month include the 2008 Working Group Meeting, completion of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects, and the development of SOP and guidelines for land use planning.

  • INDONESIA PROMISE-Indonesia organized a Training for Trainers on CBDRR initiatives 8 to 11 June 2008 for stakeholders in Jakarta. The data on flood preparedness and mitigation initiatives and the risk assessments were presented during the TOT.  PROMISE-ID also worked on the final analysis of hazard study mapping for Jakarta Province, and the  vulnerability assessment and risk mapping for Tebet sub-district area.

  • PAKISTAN – PROMISE-Pakistan continued the implementation of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects. The projects following projects were completed in June: Street Raising and Improving Drainage Lines in Aliabad; the installation and rehabilitation of drainage line in UC # 2 Latifabad. The following projects are expected to be completed by July: Improved Drainage System in Maheshwari Colony, and Improving Main Pumping Station of Hali Road in Latifabad. PROMISE-PK was involved in the preparations of the Pakistan delegation to the 2008 Working Group Meeting.

  • PHILIPPINES – PROMISE-Philippines conducted the National Course on DRM and Governance on June 3 to 6. Twenty-eight participants from LGUs and NGOs attended the First National Course on Governance and DRR. The training team was headed by the Center for Disaster Preparedness, in coordination with national government agencies like DILG. The PROMISE team from CDP, the City of Dagupan and other expert resource persons from the NGAs and NGOs gave the participants useful information, insights and skills in GDRR. The last day was a study tour to PAGASA, MMDA, Marikina City and Makati City. PROMISE-RP was involved in the preparations of the Philippine delegation to the 2008 Working Group Meeting. Lorna Victoria of the Center for Disaster Preparedness and the PROMISE-Philippines team published an article in Tropical Coasts, 14(2) December 2007, that included a section on the PROMISE-Philippines project (the is under Useful Resources).

  • SRI-LANKA – PROMISE-Sri Lanka continued the implementation of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects. PROMISE-SL was involved in the preparations of the Sri lankan delegation to the 2008 Working Group Meeting.

 A. From the Region

(1) Sri Lanka seeks aid for thousands of flood survivors, June 3
(based on reports from Reuters and PROMISE-Sri Lanka)

flash floods in the west and south of the country forced thousands of people from their homes.  At least 18 people have been killed in the floods triggered by torrential rains and 225,780 people have been affected in the western districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kaluthra, the southern districts of Galle and Mathara, and in Ratnapura.  Evacuees were sheltered in schools and temples.  The community-based flood EWS installed in Kalutara by the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) and the PROMISE-Sri Lanka project was tested during the flood.  Persons assigned to monitor the flood gauges sent feedback to their own communities and to NBRO and PROMISE-SL.  The communities disseminated the message and executed their evacuation.  NBRO and PROMISE-SL relayed the flood levels to the Kalutara office of the Disaster Management Centre, and helped them in rescue and relief distribution activities. 

(2) Floods ravage India's northeast and east, thousands homeless
(based on reports from Reuters)

Monsoon rains on June 17 across India's northeast forced hundreds of thousands of villagers from their flooded homes and killed at least 30 people with a series of landslides, floods and building collapses.  In Assam state, it swamped about 500 villages in waist-deep water, leaving about 300,000 people homeless.  On June 20, swelling rivers continued to break through mud embankments in the country's east and northeast on Friday, killing at least 50 people and affecting more than three million.  Air force helicopters dropped food packets in the eastern state of Orissa, and prices of essential commodities shot up across the region as flooding blocked many highways and trucks carrying food and medicine were stranded. 

(3) Typhoon Fengshen hits the Philippines, June 19
(based on reports from Reuters and IFRC)

Heavy rains and strong winds of up to 110 kph lashed the Philippine archipelago on 19 June as typhoon Fengshen (local name: Typhoon Frank) moved in a west-northwest direction.  It left at least 224 dead, hundreds missing and thousands homeless, according to the Philippine National Red Cross and Office of Civil Defense.  The number of fatalities exludes the passengers and crew of the MV Princess of Stars, which sank off Romblon Island in the Visayas.  The ferry was carrying more than 800 people.  Four bodies were washed ashore, about 30 survivors were found, and the rest remain unaccounted for, according to National Disaster Coordinating Council. 

(4) Floods, landslides kill 35 in southwest China, June 23
(based on reports from Reuters)

Floods, landslides and hail in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan have killed 35 people, the official Xinhua news agency said.  The storms have affected around 1.9 million people and caused losses of some 575 million yuan (USD 83.70 million) in the province.  In the eastern province of Anhui, rain and floods over the weekend affected about 541,000 people. 

B. Calls for Submission 

(5) UNISDR Call for Papers on DRR and PPP

The UN/ISDR secretariat has extended the call for good practices and lessons learned that link disaster risk reduction and public private partnership until 31 July 2008.  Examples of projects and initiatives across humanitarian, environmental and development sectors that promote positive changes to how public-private partnerships have strengthened resilience to disasters are welcome.  For guidelines for submissions and other questions, contact Stefanie Dannenmann at dannenmann@un.org.  

(6) Call for Papers: 5th Magrann Conference – New Jersey, US: 16-17 April 2009

Conference organizers invite papers addressing climate change issues within any country or region of South Asia for the 5th Magrann Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The topic of the conference will be Climate Change in South Asia: Governance, Equity, and Social Justice.  Preference will be given to those who connect their topic to one or more broad conference themes of governance, equity, and social justice. Potential topic areas for papers include, but are not limited to: legal, political, and economic frameworks for responding to climate change; cultural, social and gender implications of climate change; natural resources management and land use practices under climate change; vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in cities and urbanizing regions; Implications for agriculture under changing climatic and hydrologic regimes; and technological responses and innovations.  Papers are solicited from established scholars, as well as recent PhDs and advanced graduate students.  Abstracts of 250 words or less should be sent to the conference organizers on or before 15 September 2008. Final papers (approximately 4,000-6,000 words) are due March 1, 2009.  For more information contact magrconf@rutgers.edu or visit the conference web site at http://magrann-conference.rutgers.edu. 

(7) The Planet Action Initiative: Call for Projects

Planet Action is a non profit collaborative initiative launched in June 2007 by Spot Image.  Its mission is to provide satellite imagery, geographic information and technology to support local projects acting on climate change related issues.  Planet Action supports projects involved at least in one of the following 5 domains: human dimensions & habitation; drought, desertification & water resources; vegetation, biodiversity & ecosystems; oceans; ice & snow cover.  For more information, go to: http://www.planet-action.org/web/40-1st-call-for-projects-2008.php.

B. Calls for Submission

(5) UNISDR Call for Papers on DRR and PPP

The UN/ISDR secretariat has extended the call for good practices and lessons learned that link disaster risk reduction and public private partnership until 31 July 2008.  Examples of projects and initiatives across humanitarian, environmental and development sectors that promote positive changes to how public-private partnerships have strengthened resilience to disasters are welcome.  For guidelines for submissions and other questions, contact Stefanie Dannenmann at dannenmann@un.org.  

(6) Call for Papers: 5th Magrann Conference – New Jersey, US: 16-17 April 2009

Conference organizers invite papers addressing climate change issues within any country or region of South Asia for the 5th Magrann Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The topic of the conference will be Climate Change in South Asia: Governance, Equity, and Social Justice.  Preference will be given to those who connect their topic to one or more broad conference themes of governance, equity, and social justice. Potential topic areas for papers include, but are not limited to: legal, political, and economic frameworks for responding to climate change; cultural, social and gender implications of climate change; natural resources management and land use practices under climate change; vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in cities and urbanizing regions; Implications for agriculture under changing climatic and hydrologic regimes; and technological responses and innovations.  Papers are solicited from established scholars, as well as recent PhDs and advanced graduate students.  Abstracts of 250 words or less should be sent to the conference organizers on or before 15 September 2008. Final papers (approximately 4,000-6,000 words) are due March 1, 2009.  For more information contact magrconf@rutgers.edu or visit the conference web site at http://magrann-conference.rutgers.edu. 

(7) The Planet Action Initiative: Call for Projects

Planet Action is a non profit collaborative initiative launched in June 2007 by Spot Image.  Its mission is to provide satellite imagery, geographic information and technology to support local projects acting on climate change related issues.  Planet Action supports projects involved at least in one of the following 5 domains: human dimensions & habitation; drought, desertification & water resources; vegetation, biodiversity & ecosystems; oceans; ice & snow cover.  For more information, go to: http://www.planet-action.org/web/40-1st-call-for-projects-2008.php.

C. Conferences and Courses

(8) 2nd PROMISE Working Group Meeting – Da Nang, Viet Nam: 15 to 17 July 2008

The Program for Hydro-meteorological Disaster Mitigation in Secondary Cities in Asia (PROMISE) will hold its Second Working Group Meeting (WGM-2) on 15-77 July 2008 at the Green Plaza Hotel, Da Nang, Viet Nam.  The annual WGM provides a forum for PROMISE project partner institutions in the region to review the progress of the program, share information and experiences on their achievements, particularly on the replication of best practices to other cities in the region.  It provides an opportunity to look back at the program, and then make plans and decisions regarding future directions and sustainability of the program.  Expected participants will come from: (1) the local governments of Chittagong, Da Nang, Dagupan, Hyderabad, Metro Jakarta and Kalutara; (2) from country partner organizations – Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre (BDPC), Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI), Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), Aga Khan Planning and Building Society – Pakistan (AKPBSP), Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), and Lanka Jathika Shramadana Sangamaya Sarvodaya (Sarvodaya); and from networking partners and other interested organizations – US Agency for International Development / US Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID / OFDA), World Bank – Urban Development Sector, and Ove Arup & Partners.  The WGM-2 is co-organized with the Natural Disaster Mitigation Partnership (NDM-P) of Viet Nam, Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control (CCFSC) of Viet Nam, and CECI.  Briefing Notes and the Themes of the Best Practices are available on the WGM webpage: http://www.adpc.net/v2007/Programs/UDRM/PROMISE/MONITORING%20&%20EVALUATION/Working%20Group%20Meeting/2008/Default-Working%20Group%20Meeting2008.asp

(9) 17th Regional Training Course on Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) – Bangkok, Thailand: 21 Jul – 1 Aug 2008

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  The CBDRM course provides an opportunity for practitioners to learn essential skills and knowledge in community-based disaster risk management to address implementation challenges in a systematic manner. CBDRM participants acquire tools and obtain knowledge on how to design and implement programs for reducing disaster risks and vulnerability and building community capacity to promote a "culture of safety." For inquiries, contact Mr. Falak Nawaz, tedadpc@adpc.net. 

(10) International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC –Davos, Switzerland: 25-29 August 2008

The conference motto for 2008 is “Public-private partnership – key for integral risk management and climate change adaptation”.  There will be a joint Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER special session on how Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) can support disaster risk reduction and integrated risk management.  For more information, go to: http://www.idrc.info/index.php?p=245&pagetype=1

(11) 3rd Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Local Governance – Manila, Philippines: 1 – 5 September 2008

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  Formerly named the course “Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction,” the overall objective is to develop a cadre of local government professionals sensitive to issues presented by the recurrent hazards.  The course intends to increase their knowledge, as well as of other stakeholders, on urban governance and disaster risk management to be responsive to the needs of vulnerability reduction, and to create opportunities for mainstreaming risk reduction as a component of urban governance.  For inquiries, contact Mr. Falak Nawaz, tedadpc@adpc.net, or Mr. Amit Kumar, amit@adpc.net

 (12) 9th Regional Training Course on Flood Disaster Risk Management – Bangkok, Thailand: 6-17 October 2008

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  The course is an integrated approach to developing flood risk reduction strategies that involve engineering, settlement, development, public administration, and community-based land use planning with environmental consideration. This multidisciplinary treatment of flood problems and flood risk management gives a holistic view of the situation and preparedness needs. Case examples of various national and local responses will be presented.  For more information, please go to:

http://www.adpc.net/v2007/TRG/TRAINING%20COURSES/REGIONAL%20COURSES/2008/FDRM-9/FDRM-9.asp. 

(13) 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering  – Beijing, China: 12-17 October 2008

Organizers: International Association for Earthquake Engineering (IAEE) and the Government of PROChina.  This year's meeting will serve as an international forum for specialists, government officials, and non-governmental organization representatives in earthquake engineering and related fields to exchange their latest research results and technologies.  For questions, send email to pco@14wcee.org or go to the website: http://www.14wcee.org.  

(14) Gender and Climate Change Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance – Makati City, Philippines: 19-22 October 2008

Organizers: Center for Asia-Pacific Women in Politics.  Women in governance and environmental organizations, youth leaders, and media practitioners are encouraged to attend this meeting.  The discussion on gender and climate change will be organized around identifying challenges to action, as well as defining appropriate responses (i.e., preparedness, disaster risk reduction, adaptation, and mitigation) to effectively address the impacts of climate change.  For inquiries, send email to globalcongress2008@capwip.org or visit the website: http://www.capwip.org.  

(15) 7th General Assembly of the Asian Seismological Commission and Seismological Society of Japan, 2008 Fall Meeting – Tskuba, Japan: 24-27 November 2008

Organizers: Asian Seismological Commission and Seismological Society of Japan. The main theme for this year’s conference is “Sharing of Up-to-date Science and Technology to Reduce Earthquakes Disaster in Asia.” The goal is to bridge science and technology, research and application, domestic efforts and international collaboration, and the Asia Pacific region with the world.  For inquiries, send email to asc2008@tokyo.email.ne.jp, or visit the website: http://www.soc.nii.ac.jp/ssj/asc-ssj2008/.

D. Useful Resources

(16) SAARC online resources

SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) was set up in October 2006 in New Delhi to serve the eight member countries of SAARC (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) with policy advice and capacity building for effective disaster risk reduction and management in South Asia.  Their website, with online briefs on various natural hazards and hazard profiles of the member countries, can be found here: http://saarc-sdmc.nic.in/home.asp.  

(17) Tropical Coasts issue 14(2), December 2007

Tropical Coasts featured an article on disaster risk reduction in Asia, and an article that featured PROMISE-Philippines.  Published biannually by PEMSEA, the magazine is geared towards stimulating an exchange of information and sharing of experiences and ideas with respect to environmental protection and the management of coastal and marine areas.  The magazine’s homepage is: http://www.pemsea.org/knowledge-center/pemsea-publications/tropical-coasts-magazine.  The issue may be downloaded from here: http://www.adpc.net/v2007/IKM/ONLINE%20DOCUMENTS/downloads/2008/July/Tropical%20Coasts.pdf

(18) Building and Social Housing Foundation

The Foundation (BSHF) is a research institute based in the United Kingdom.  A major area of activity is the annual World Habitat Award competition which it initiated in 1985 to identify innovative and successful human settlement projects throughout the world which could be replicated elsewhere.  Each year two cash awards of £10,000 and a trophy is presented to the winners of the competition on World Habitat Day.  The database of past winners is found here: http://www.worldhabitatawards.org/winners-and-finalists/?lang=00.

 
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