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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

30 Apr 2010
Issue No. 79

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. Six cities highly vulnerable to hydro-meteorological disasters were selected for implementing demonstration projects on disaster mitigation by urban communities from 2006 to 2009 – Chittagong (Bangladesh), Hyderabad (Pakistan), Jakarta (Indonesia), Dagupan (Philippines), Kalutara (Sri Lanka), and Da Nang (Viet Nam). The program is now being implemented in Jamalpur (Bangladesh), Pasig (the Philippines), and Matara (Sri Lanka).

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES for April and May 2010:

  • BANGLADESH – The PROMISE Bangladesh team focused on holding flood disaster risk reduction workshops with the project communities in Jamalpur Municipality. The objective of the workshops was to have the communities validate the consolidated risk maps, and do action planning for risk reduction. The communities were divided into three simultaneous workshops, all held on April 12 at different venues. The participants included elected representatives into Jamalpur Municipal Council, as well as other members of the various wards; 22 people came workshop for wards 1, 10 and 12; 21 people came for the workshop for wards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 11; 25 people came for the workshop for wards 6, 7, 8 and 9. Activities for the month of May for are: 1) the consolidation of the workshop outputs into a hazard, vulnerability and risk assessment of Jamalpur Municipality and the individual wards; 2) conduct of the CBERC training in Jamalpur on May 11 to 13; and 3) the development of a short-list of community flood disaster mitigation activities based on the validated community risk assessments and action plans developed during this month’s workshops.

  • PHILIPPINES – Project activities in the Philippines were interrupted by preparations for the national and local elections in May 14. The project team concentrated on participating in several networking events to, promote the work done in PROMISE in Pasig City, as well as to share the outcome from the previous site of Dagupan City: 1) On April 2, 2010, Ms. Luneta shared some preparedness tips and the CBDRRM PROMISE experience during the LEAD Camp, a camp for improving the leadership skills of Youth Leaders, Teachers and Master guides of the NPUC from different parts of Luzon. The camp was organized by the North Philippine Union Conference (NPUC) of the Seventh - day Adventists. 2) On April 8 Dr. Paul Castro and Mr. Horacio Apuyan Jr., Pasig City hospital administrators and PROMISE TWG members, attended the Global Launch of “One Million Safe Schools and Hospital Campaign” at the Manila Hotel. The said campaign was initiated by UNISDR and the ASEAN, and hosted by the Philippine Government. PROMISE Philippines partner Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) was the secretariat of the event. 3) On April 9, Ms. Luneta shared the DRR PROMISE experience to the participants of the RESCUE 101 CAMP of the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs in Tagaytay that aims to help young scientists to know about and be a part of DRR. 4) The 3-dimensional risk map of Barangay Mangin made during the PROMISE project in Dagupan City was presented by Mr. Jake Rom D. Cadag at the forum “Programme Sharing Amongst ProVention Consortium Research and Action Grantees in the Philippines” on April 13. 5) CDP and other Pasig City partners and stakeholders attended the Fun Run in Pasig City on April 22, one of the city’s events for Earth Day; the theme of the run was on climate change and disaster. Activities for next month are focused on continuing the CBDRRM training (community-based disaster risk reduction and management).

  • SRI LANKA – A study of existing local authority by-laws relevant to disaster risk management (DRM) was initiated under the PROMISE SL project, with the inputs of the Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities (FSLGA) and their legal consultants. This is the first ever effort in Sri Lanka to incorporate the disaster dimension into the Local Authority By-laws relevant to development regulations, particularly for regulating construction activities. The findings of the study and the draft by-laws proposed under this assignment have been presented to the stakeholders at two workshop held on April 20 and 30 at the Matara Municipal Council Auditorium. Activities for next month: training of 20 community respondents selected from vulnerable location within Matara city and 10 members from operational crew of Matara MC and District Disaster Management Unit on fire safety and emergency response will be held on May 17 to 18, to be conducted by the Fire Department Training Centre of the Colombo Municipal Council.

 A. From the Region

(1) Massive earthquake in Indonesia, no deaths
(based on a report from Alertnet)

A major earthquake of 7.7 magnitude occurred off the coast of Aceh in north-western Indonesia on April 7, triggering panic and power blackouts, but no deaths were reported. The quake struck around 5:15 a.m. (2215 GMT April 6), with the epicenter at a depth of 31 km, located 200 km west-northwest of the coastal town of Sibolga.  There were a series of smaller aftershocks after the initial major quake.  The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially gave a tsunami alert was given for Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia that was eventually cancelled.  Indonesian officials said that a tsunami of 40 cm had been detected in a few areas including Banyak island, where some homes were flooded.

(2) Massive earthquake in China, over 2000 deaths
(based on reports from Xinhua and Alertnet)

A rapid series of strong earthquakes hit a mountainous and impoverished area of China's Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in Qinghai province early Wednesday, April 12.  About 2,200 people were killed as of April 30 after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck at 7:49 a.m. local time.  The epicenter is at the Rima Village in the Shanglaxiu Township, a sparsely populated town with many pastures and farmlands.  However, about 50 km east is Jiegu, the government seat of the Yushu prefecture, where more than 85 percent of the houses had collapsed.  About 9,100 people have been hospitalized, and over 40,000 were treated by emergency medical teams.  Relief operations are still ongoing, and were disrupted by a sandstorm and heavy snowfall on April 25.

(3) Tornado in eastern India
(based on a report by Alertnet)

Up to one million people in eastern India lost their homes when a tornado struck the states of Bihar and West Bengal on April 13, killing 137 people.  More than 200,000 houses were reported fully or severely damaged by the storm that had wind speeds of 120 kph. 

(4) Hot, hot India this April
(based on reports from Alertnet,, and India Blooms)

A severe heat wave sweeping India, with maximum temperatures of almost 44 degrees Celsius in the Ridge area of West Delhi, the highest in 52 years.  Over 80 people died due to the heat wave.  Severe heat wave conditions are also reported over other parts of India including Orissa, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 

(5) Moving Tehran?

Reuters and The New York Times ran reports that the Iranian government is considering relocating the city of Tehran and all its inhabitants to safer grounds due to the high risk of an earthquake disaster, and distributing the government offices therein to the rest of the country.  Located in a very high seismic zone at the foot of the Alborz Mountains, Tehran and the surrounding region has had eight large destructive earthquakes with magnitude greater than 7 from 4 B.C to 1830.  The metropolis can swell to 15 million people during the work day, and with some high-rise buildings and other structures not built to standard, the prospects of a disaster are indeed high.  Read more at:

(6) Malaria cases rising in Cambodia
(based on a report by IRIN)

The number of malaria cases recorded in Cambodia has increased significantly, say health officials, citing several reasons, including and early rainy season and better detection.  The National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control reports a 41 percent increase in cases from 2008 to 2009, with 83,217 recorded infections in 2009 versus 58,887 in 2008.  Factors cited by the agency include: an earlier-than-usual rainy season, a late distribution of insecticide-impregnated bed nets, and internal migration to malaria-affected areas, a natural cyclical rise in the number of cases every two to three years, but also a wider health care coverage that encourages better detection and reporting.  The number of cases is still significantly lower than 12 years ago, when there were 170,387 infected persons and 865 deaths.

B. Calls for Submission

(7) Surat Safe Habitat - Planning and Design Competition

Surat Municipal Corporation and partners are holding national level planning & design competition for professionals and students. The “Surat…..Safe Habitat.” Design Competition for Disaster prone Resilient Design/Planning is a two-part process consisting of an Open Competition followed by a Project Development Period. The Competition is intended to generate innovative solutions for Disaster prone resilient design/ Planning under two themes: Theme I: Planning and Design of low income group cluster housing prone to frequent flood, andTheme II: Spatial Area planning of low lying area with high flood risk. For more details, go to:

(8) Access to Justice Award

AlertNet and the Clifford Chance Foundation have partnered for the Access to Justice Award - a donation of money and time from that will be made to a charitable organisation that promotes access to justice. The intention is to help promote the initiative to NGOs doing important work in the AlertNet community. The winner will be given a donation of £50,000 and 500 hours of pro bono volunteering hours over an 18-month period. For more information, go to:

C. Conferences and Courses

(9) Workshop on Space Technology Application in Disaster Reduction, 5-7 May 2010, Beijing, China

Organizer: National Disaster Reduction Center, Ministry of Civil Affairs, PRO China. The workshop is organized to strengthen capacity-building among the member countries of ICDO against disasters. To be held at the same time in Beijing is the "Integrated Disaster Reduction and Sustainable Development Forum". For more information contact Mr. Shirish Ravan:

(10) 9th Regional Training Course on Earthquake Vulnerability Reduction for Cities – Bangkok, Thailand: 10-21 May 2010 – POSTPONED

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). Due to the prevailing uncertainty in Bangkok’s peace and order situation, the course is postponed and a new date will be announced later. The course is designed to impart greater understanding of the causes and effects of earthquake and collateral hazards, primarily focusing on mitigating such impacts in order to reduce damage and loss of lives with sustained development. Please contact Mr. Amit Kumar for updates on the situation or to register, The brochure is available at the following link:

(11) 4th Central Asia GIS Conference – Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 27-28 May 2010

Organizers: Austria-Central Asia Centre for GIScience at the Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transportation and Architecture, and the Centre for Geoinformatics (Z_GIS), University of Salzburg. The 4th GIS-in-Central-Asia Conference will be held in Bishek, with the main objective of bringing together GIS academics, researchers and practitioners in the Central Asian countries for international cooperation and knowledge exchange in GIS education. The current conference’s main theme is WATER, with a subtheme on Risk: WATER posing a threat to settlements among other subthemes. For more information and registration please go to:

(12) 2nd Ukrainian conference Earth Observations for Sustainable Development and Security – Kyiv, Ukraine, 14-17 June 2010

Organizers: Space Research Institute et al. The Conference is an opportunity to discuss the prospects of aero- and space-born data utilization for natural resources management, sustainable development and security, and establishment of the Ukrainian segment of GEOSS (GEO-UA system). Areas of the discussion include disaster reduction and climate change. For more information and registration please go to:

D. Useful Resources

(13) Hazard Profile of Myanmar, July 2009

(14) India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth: MGI, April 2010

(15) Institutional Arrangements for DM in Myanmar, 2009

(16) Local Governments and Disaster Risk Reduction: Good Practices and Lessons Learned: UNISDR, Mar 2010

(17) Regional training manual on disaster risk reduction for coastal zone managers, 2010


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