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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

28 Feb 2009
Issue No. 65

The Program for Hydro-meteorological Disaster Mitigation in Secondary Cities in Asia (PROMISE), funded by USAID/OFDA, commenced from October 2005.  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.  Components of the program consist of capacity building in hydro-meteorological disaster risk reduction, risk management advocacy, networking and dissemination initiatives, and city demonstration projects in selected countries.  Through consultations with a number of ADPC partners, five project countries were selected in 2005 for implementing demonstration projects in a highly vulnerable city with recent history of hydro-meteorological disasters – Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.  The projects in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam were finished by June 2008.  The projects in the Philippines and Sri Lanka were given supplementary activities, while a project in Indonesia began in February 2008.  The main activities from January to March 2009 are: development of early warning systems, set up of emergency response system, disaster management planning for selected schools, and networking for DRR.

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES for January to February 2009:

  • INDONESIA – PROMISE-Indonesia had a successful flood simulation on February 1 in Kebon Baru, Jakarta.  The simulation tested the SOP for transmitting a flooding alert for Ciliwung river from the BMKG (Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika or the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency) transmitted to: (1)  the Crisis Center of DKI Jakarta, then to (2) Jakarta Selatan City, Tebet Sub District, then (3) Kelurahan Kebon Baru, with the support of BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana or the National Agency for Disaster Management ) to disseminate the warning. All key decision-makers of DKI Jakarta and of Jakarta Selatan were present; Governor Fauzi Bowo inaugurated the simulation.  Three days prior the drill, Dr. Harkunti Rahayu of CDM-LPPM-ITB briefed all heads of 26 the DKI Jakarta government in a formal meeting of at the Governor Office.  The objectives of the simulation were to test the 3 main components of the Integrated FEWS of Jakarta: 1) System and mechanism of FEW; 2) Readiness of 24/7 officer on duties at multi-level: Meteorology Center of BMKG, Jakarta Crisis Center, Posko DPU-DKI, Posdukes DinKes, Posko DinSos, EOC at Jakarta Selatan City, EOC Kecamatan Tebet, up to Posko Kelurahan; and 3) Preparedness of community in responding warning and other disaster management activities needed to anticipate future flood.  More than 500 residents of rukun wargas RW1, RW2, RW3 and RW4 of Kelurahan Kebon Baru participated in monitoring the flood using a Flood Reference, up to evacuation for an extreme weather scenario.  The flood reference is a community based flood early warning mechanism that uses a set of 5 unique colors that each correspond to a specific level of emergency response.  Read about the simulation from online newspapers in Bahasa Indonesia ( and in English (  The video footage (in Bahasa Indonesia) of the simulation can be found at:

  • PHILIPPINES – On February 4, volunteer graduate students in Geography from the University of the Philippines facilitated the participatory 3D (three-dimensional) risk mapping in Barangay Mangin. The participants were the residents of Barangay Mangin and the BDCC members.  The TWG and representatives from Barangay Tebeng observed the process for replication in other barangays. The communities were able to identify the high risk areas and make detailed representations on the number of houses and most vulnerable people.  More detail is being updated into the map even after the one-day exercise, and the base was made more stable with the use of rubber board.  The community still intends to represent escape routes, flow of water and other relevant information, and is considering making it a multi-hazard risk map.
    Barangay Mangin, one of the project sites of PROMISE RP, is the 2008 Kalasag Awardee for the regional level, and the Center for Disaster Preparedness, the PROMISE Philippines partner, won the Regional Kalasag Award as the Best Performing NGO.  The awards are given in recognition of Excellence in Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance, and are given by the corresponding regional disaster coordinating council (RDCC).   The RDCC also expressed the eagerness to have the PROMISE team share their DRR experience to other provinces.

    RP had several networking activities this month.  Ms. Mayfourth Luneta presented the PROMISE RP experience last February 5 with an undergraduate class studying for a degree in Community Development at the University of the Philippines.  She emphasized the relevance of having a DRR organization within the community vis-à-vis the roles of the Barangay Disaster Coordinating Council, community-based organizations, local authorities, as well as the role of the development workers in DRR.  Ms. Luneta and Ms. Emma J. Molina, Dagupan City Agriculturist, shared the DRR and climate change mitigation and adaptation activities in Dagupan City to Tambuyog and its partners last February 17.  Tambuyog is an NGO focusing on the fisheries sector.  They appreciated the PROMISE RP efforts for the fisheries sector that highlighted issues on good governance. Finally, a monitoring team from ADPC visited the Philippines last February 8-12 to monitor the project’s progress and financial reporting.  Activities for next month include: CBDRR training for the medium risk barangays in Dagupan (postponed from this month); Bangladesh Study Tour to Dagupan City; and a meeting with Department of Education, Culture and Sports office in Dagupan City for the Mainstreaming DRR in Schools activity.

  • SRI LANKA PROMISE-Sri Lanka worked with the Disaster Management Centre – Kalutara and helped establish disaster management cells for following schools: Kalutara Muslim Central College, Gnanodaya Maha Vidyalaya, Kalutara Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Kalutara Muslim Balika Maha Vidyalaya, and Sugatha Vidyalaya.  NBRO, the PROMISE country partner, has prepared the base map for the emergency response system that PROMISE SL is helping to establish for Kalutara; the next step is to purchase the needed satellite images.  NBRO held a cluster meeting on February 6 with residents, community leaders and CBOs from sixteen Grama Niladharis of Kalutara to explain the drainage planning (niche) project, identify the drainage problems in the selected communities, and elicit input from the communities on the solutions.  NBRO held meetings on February 11 and 25 with officials from the Ministry of Health – Disaster Management Unit, to discuss the Training and Capacity Building of Health and Sanitation Sector Workers project.  Topics discussed were the integrating disaster mitigation into current training curricula and possible training modalities.  Mr. NMSI Arambepola represented ADPC at the February 11 meeting.

 A. From the Region

(1) China declares emergency over drought
(based on a report from Alertnet)
The national Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief this week declared a "level 2" emergency warning of a forecasted severe drought.  The lack of snow or rain since November has affected 9.5 million hectares of farmland where 43 per cent of the winter wheat sources are grown.  The hardest-hit areas are in Henan and Anhui.  The central government has mobilized drought relief funds and irrigation assistance to address the problem. 

(2) Second case of human avian influenza in Vietnam…
(based on a report from IRIN)
Vietnam's second human avian influenza case this year has been confirmed by health authorities, who are scrambling to contain the disease that has now spread to poultry in seven central and southern provinces.  Ly Tai Mui, from northern Quang Ninh Province, is seriously ill with pneumonia, having tested positive for human avian flu after eating a sick chicken.  

(3) … while Nepal has AHI under control
(based on a report from IRIN)
The H5NI virus has been brought under control after a month-long outbreak in poultry in Jhapa district, with the government responding swiftly through the Avian Influenza Control Project.  Measures taken were: culling more than 23,000 chickens as well as hundreds of pigeons, ducks and parrots; destroying eggs and sacks of feed; banning the production, consumption, sale and transportation of poultry products in Jhapa; bird flu assessments in major cities, including Kathmandu, Pokhara, Surkhet, Rupendehi, Biratnagar and Sindhuli, where there are large poultry markets.  Although no evidence of the virus was found after examining more than 100 samples, government officials maintain that the country remained at risk given that its neighbors, particularly China and India, have a history of bird flu outbreaks. Nepal's huge poultry industry also relies largely on imports from West Bengal and Bihar in India.  Government officials gave other sources of concern such as: the critical shortage of trained veterinarians, lack of adequate laboratories and supplies of disinfectants for spraying contaminated areas.  

(4) Heavy snow in Afghanistan
(based on a report from IRIN)
In mid February, Afghanistan's National Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA) reported that heavy snow in northern Afghanistan has damaged houses and caused more than 30 avalanches around the Salang Pass - a vital route connecting northern Afghanistan with Kabul.  At least 12 people died, dozens of livestock perished,.and tens of houses damaged by heavy snow in Herat and Ghor provinces over the past four days.  Snow has also blocked access to many remote areas in northern, western and central provinces, leaving affected communities urgently needing food aid, medical care and heating items, ANDMA reported said. 

(5) Earthquake in Pakistan
(based on reports from IRIN and USGS)
At least 44 people injured after an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale and landslides hit Muzaffarabad, Kashmir. There were no reports of deaths, but damage to buildings was said to be widespread, particularly in the Neelum Valley area north of Muzaffarabad, including a school constructed after the 2005 earthquake.

B. Calls for Submission

(6) Call for Papers and Participation: 2nd Asia-Pacific Housing Forum Urban Poverty Housing Solutions – Manila, Philippines: 7 – 9 September 2009
The 2nd Asia-Pacific Housing Forum will alternative approaches and scalable models involving national and local government authorities, businesses and social organizations working together and building on each other’s strengths to provide housing solutions. Themes and Tracks are: Innovations in Housing the Urban Poor; Disaster Response: Rethinking Emergencies; Quick Guides on Housing the Poor (training event); and “Leaders of Tomorrow meet Leaders of Today: Student Dialogue on Urban Housing Solutions” wherein universities from Asia, the Pacific and beyond are invited to send student representatives studying housing, urban planning, architecture, property management, development and other related disciplines are invited to attend the forum and hear ideas from top experts in housing solutions.   Pease submit an abstract of not more than 500 words to the Forum Secretariat by 31 March 2009. For more information, please contact: 2nd Asia-Pacific Housing Forum - Conference Secretariat Habitat for Humanity (Asia-Pacific) 8th Floor, Q House, 38 Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500 Thailand; URL:; email:

C. Conferences and Courses

(7) International Course on Ecosystem-based Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction – Cavite, Philippines: 13 April – 1 May 2009
Organizer: International Institute of Rural Reconstruction.  This course is designed for mid and senior level rural development professionals and government functionaries to learn concepts and strategies relevant to disaster risk reduction in solving many of the problems that beseech rural development and natural asset management initiatives. Participants will learn the skills and techniques necessary to systematically assess multi-hazards, plan and implement integrated risk reduction interventions, and to build and evaluate organizational readiness to undertake ecosystem-based integrated disaster risk reduction initiatives. The course design strikes a balance and practical integration between the biophysical, socio-economic, and community health and welfare respective of resiliency and vulnerability reductions. Most important to note about the course framework is that within, theory matches practice at the local level – thus, directed at the ‘self’ building of resilient and proactive communities.  For more information, please go to: 

(8) GIS for Disaster Risk Management (an introductory course) – Bangkok, Thailand: 11 - 22 May 2009
Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  The course provides an excellent opportunity for professionals and practitioners to obtain essential skills and knowledge in GIS and RS and their current application in disaster risk management. Participants will gain practical and technical knowledge on the uses of GIS and RS in disaster prevention, preparedness and emergency response.  Extensive exercises and simulations provide an insight into how GIS and RS tools are applied in these fields, and the benefits and solutions that can be presented.  The course is co-organized with the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observations and the Asian Institute of Technology.  For more information, please go to:[1].pdf. 

(9) 4th Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Local Governance – Manila, Philippines: 18 – 22 May 2009
Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).  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,, or Mr. Amit Kumar, 

(10) 5th International Symposium on Tibetan Plateau / The 24th Himalaya-Karakorum-Tibet Workshop – Beijing, China: 11 – 14 August, 2009
Organizer: Chinese Academy of Sciences.  The 5th International Symposium on Tibetan Plateau Research will be held together and simultaneously with the 24th Himalaya-Karakorum-Tibet Workshop (HKT) on August 11 to 14, 2009.  The 5th International Symposium will thus provide a platform for international scientific staff to share research achievements and academic thoughts on study of the Tibetan Plateau.  This will be held back-to-back with the 24th Himalaya-Karakorum-Tibet Workshop in 2009 in China, and this decision has been approved by the Chinese Academy of Science.  Some invited keynote talks from international scholars will be given at this joint conference.  For more details, please go to:

D. Useful Resources

(11) Post-Nargis Social Impact Monitoring, Tripartite Core Group (TCG) November 2008
The report takes a look at the impact of the cyclone and the effectiveness of the aid response.  The study is part of the monitoring framework that the TCG adopted to ensure that the relief and recovery efforts of all partners effectively address the needs of the affected populations.  Access the report at: 

(12) First Post-Nargis Periodic Review 1, Tripartite Core Group (TCG), December 2008
The report is an analysis of data collected in 2008 from October 29 to November 19 from 2,376 households in 108 communities in the Ayeyarwady and Yangon divisions. The findings are presented in seven sectors: health, nutrition, food, water supply, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, education, and livelihood. At the same time, cross-sectoral issues such as vulnerability and protection, household socio-economic status, receipt of aid, gender and environment are analysed.  Access the report at: 

(13) Reconstruction after a Major Disaster: Lessons from the Post-Tsunami Experience in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, ADB, December 2008
This paper examines several aspects of the rehabilitation and reconstruction program that followed the 2004 tsunami in Asia. Almost 230,000 people died in the disaster. The paper focuses on two main issues: aid delivery and reconstruction policy following the disaster.  Access the paper here: 

(14) Online Resources Series on Natural Hazards
This new section is a focus on online resources on the hazards that are of special interest for urban disaster management.  The hazards that will be featured are (in order): tropical cyclones (a.k.a. cyclone, typhoon and hurricane), drought, flood, landslide, earthquake and technological hazards.  Here is a list of online resources on earthquakes:


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