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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

30 Jun 2010
Issue No. 81

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 June to July 2010:

  • BANGLADESH – Jamalpur Municipal Council has signed the MoU for the implementation of the small-scale disaster mitigation projects: two approach roads, five deep tube well installations with platforms, and four platform constructions for existing tube wells. The various construction work were inaugurated on June 9, and everything is expected to be finished by July. Some basic equipment have been purchased for the EOC that is being set up in the Municipality, and were turned over in a small ceremony on June 21. Some 18 community rescue volunteers have also been identified, and will undergo training later. More importantly, the Municipality has identified 19 locations for flood gauges and has presented the specifications and budget to the WDB for funding and implementation, along with the list of caretakers from the communities for each location.

  • PHILIPPINES – The Philippines project team postponed the communities’ CBDRM training to July in order to revise the training curriculum and accommodate the fresh mandate for local governments and barangays (villages) from the passage of the Republic Act 10121, the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.” (Among many provisions on disaster risk reduction, the new law dissolves all local Disaster Coordinating Councils, assimilates their previous function of response coordination at barangay-level into the barangay local development councils’ mandate, provides for a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee in every barangay, and for  Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils and Offices in every city/municipality, and province.) The project team have had curriculum revision meetings this month.
    Pasig City participated in the nationwide earthquake drill led by the National Disaster Coordinating Council on June 18. The drill was held in Ortigas Center, one of the main business districts of the Philippines. The award-winning Pasig Rescue team took part in the drill.
    Finally, the PROMISE team participated in three networking events this month. On June 4, the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) and Dagupan City representatives shared their DRR experiences under PROMISE at the DRR Orientation for Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA). CDP, Dagupan City and Pasig City have been invited as resource persons for a training course on Disaster Preparedness and Management held June 8 to 9. The course is part of a capacity building effort for area leaders of the Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT) national network. Last June 13, CDP representatives gave disaster preparedness tips for Master Guide trainees of Pathfinder Club is a worldwide program organized and directed by the Youth Department of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

  • SRI LANKA – The Matara city officials and project communities have jointly identified two priority flood mitigation projects: the improvement of about 100m of the Piladuwa Ganga Mawatha 1st cross canal; and the Improvement of about 600m of the canal from Vellawatta to Nawimana Road 2nd culvert. An MoU was sign for the project implementation by Matara Municipal Council (MMC), the Asia Foundation and the project communities themselves through in-kind participation. The National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) completed the report on analysis of Matara City’s land use and disaster risk, along with the relevant land use plans and maps. The report incorporates inputs from community representatives of 15 Municipal Wards obtained during community workshops. This will be handed over as a planning tool for the city. Finally, preparations have begun for a two-day workshop on participatory planning for 30 city officers and elected members, and for a one-day training workshop for 30 participants selected from city officials focusing on mainstreaming DRR in urban governance. Both workshops will be held in July.

A. From the Region

(1) Tropical cyclone Phet inundates Pakistan

(based on reports from Alertnet, IRIN and ReliefWeb)
Tropical Cyclone 'Phet' began to batter Pakistan's coastal areas on June 6. Despite having lowered its sustained wind speed to 60 to 80 km/hour after hitting Omani coastal areas on June 4, Phet produced heavy rainfall (as much as 370 mm in the coastal district of Gwadar in Balochistan) that caused the collapse of several hundred mud houses and damage to roads. Initial estimates say that at least 5,000 houses were washed away, and at least 200,000 individuals are seriously affected, mostly in the coastal areas of Baluchistan and Sindh provinces. The possible loss of life was averted due to the effective early warning and evacuation of people by the provincial authorities. However, flooding has persisted and contaminated flood waters posed health hazards to the affected population of Gwadar up to mid June.

(2) Landslides hit parts of Bangladesh and Myanmar

(based on reports by AlertNet and IRIN)

Landslides triggered by heavy rain in southeast Bangladesh buried dozens of houses and killed over 50 people from the hit villages in the Cox's Bazar hill and resort district. The recorded rainfall for the 24 hours to 9 am on June 15 was 132cm, according to the Bangladesh Disaster Management Information Centre. Landslides hit hillside villages in south and northeastern districts of Bangladesh almost every year during the monsoon season.

In Myanmar, landslides killed 46 people in the Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships of northern Rakhine State in the west. Several thousand families were reportedly displaced and 40 villages were submerged. Bridges between Maungdaw and Buthidaung were washed away. International humanitarian agencies participated in the disaster response(3) Bangladesh introduces SMS cyclone alert system.

(3) Torrential rain and dyke breach in Jiangxi, China

(based on reports by Reuters)

Days of torrential rain killed nearly 379 people, displaced about 100,000 residents, and created a breach in the protective Changkai Dyke on the Fu River in Jiangxi province, China. More than 2.38 million people were evacuated, many of whom moved only short distances. Economic losses were estimated at 70.9 billion yuan ($10.4 billion). More than 15,000 people, including troops and police officers, assisted in efforts to seal the 400-meter breach with sandbags and other material. The rain has also affected other provinces and regions (Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi).

B. Calls for Submission

(4) Call for applications: UNFCCC Fellowships

The United Nations Climate Change Secretariat announced the third round of its fellowship program, whose objective is to contribute to building capacity for addressing climate change in Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention, particularly in small island developing States and least developed countries. UNFCCC awards 5 fellowships every year, targeted at mid-career professionals, for projects may be carried out in any of the secretariat programs on a number of issues. For more details, go to:

(5) Call for applications: Postdoctoral Positions in Catastrophic Risk Research, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

The Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes at the Wharton School is seeking applicants for one or two postdoctoral fellowship positions in the area of catastrophic risk, with a particular focus on natural hazards and environmental risks. Fellows will begin work in Fall of 2010 or sooner, on NSF and foundation‐funded projects covering a range of topics related to catastrophic risk, including psychological studies of risk perception, adaptation to natural hazards, and the economic management of disasters. Researchers from a broad range of disciplines are encouraged to apply, including experimental psychology, economics, geography, and environmental science. Please email your C.V. and 1to 2 representative publications to the attention of Chioma Fitzgerald (

C. Conferences and Courses

(6) The 5th Regional Training Course on GIS for Disaster Management, Level-I from 16-27 August 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), and Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente.  GIS4DM Level-I is an introductory course aims to impart knowledge and skills to disaster management practitioners in using GIS and spatial data for disaster risk assessment and use of risk information for disaster risk reduction. This course designed to the disaster management professionals who intend to use GIS in their day-to-day work and will be suitable for professionals working in government organization, municipalities, NGOs, international organizations and academic institutions. For inquiries, please send email to:  

(7) The 10th International Training Course on Flood Disaster Risk Management from 11-22 October 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). FDRM course offers an integrated approach to the development of flood risk reduction strategies under the challenging circumstance of climate change, which enables a holistic view of flood situation and the needed prepared measures. It is specifically designed to meet the need of disaster management professionals, researchers, policy makers, planners, academicians, administrators and disaster management and career seekers. For inquiries, please send email to:  

(8) The 6th Regional Training Course on GIS for Disaster Risk Assessment, Level-II from 1-12 November 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), and Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente. GIS4DRA Level-II is an advance course attempts to provide knowledge and skills in multi-hazard risk assessment and loss estimation to the professionals with GIS and Remote Sensing (RS) background as well as in multi-criteria analysis for decision making. This course designed to the professionals who are interested in multi-hazard risk assessment using these tools and will be suitable for practitioners working in government organization, municipalities, NGOs, international organizations and academic institutions. For inquiries, please send email to:

(9) Special Conference Session: 'Disaster Risk Management' – Hanoi, Vietnam, 2 November 2010

Session organizers: Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), and Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente. A special session on 'Disaster Risk Management' at the 31st Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS) will take place on 2 November 2010. The session will feature disaster-related topics. For more details on the conference, go to:

D. Useful Resources

(10) Asian Disaster Management News, ADPC, April 2010
Focus on: Earthquake Risk Management

(11) Bridges across Oceans: Initial Impact Assessment of the Philippines Nautical Highway System and Lessons for Southeast Asia, ADB, April 2010

(12) Cash Transfer Program Meets Needs in Vietnam. OFDA, June 2010

(13) Central Asia Atlas of Natural Resources, ADB, April 2010

(14) Digging tips to avoid arsenic contamination

(15) Flood preparedness initiatives of high-risk communities of Jakarta, Iglesias, June 2010


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