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Disaster Mitigation
in Asia

31 May 2010
Issue No. 80

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 May to June 2010:

  • BANGLADESH – Twenty-seven commmunity participants from Jamalpur participated in the Community-based Emergency Response course organized on May 11 to 13 under the PROMISE project there.  Other developments in the project include the finalization of structural mitigation activities at ward level, to be funded partly with municipal funds.  Ward-level committees will be formed to monitor the progress in these activities.  Finally, flood mapping was done this month and will continue until June

  • PHILIPPINES The Barangay Kapitolyo Disaster Coordinating Council (BDCC) was activated on May 1 due to flash floods in this community in Pasig City.  The city government sent a team to support the BDCC but the community were able to cope and immediately start cleaning and draining the water.  Project activities in the Philippines were still interrupted by the national and local elections held on May 14, so most of the month the project team concentrated on networking with various organizations to promote the work of PROMISE in Pasig and Dagupan.  Finally, the project team reached out to the Department of Education, Culture and Sports division in Pasig City to promote a disaster risk reduction (DRR) orientation for public school teachers and administrators.

  • SRI LANKA A series of regional seminars on local governance was co-organized with the Federation of Sri Lanka Local Government Authorities (FSLGA), with the support of Disaster Management Center (DMC), Office of the Commissioner of Local Government (OCLG), The Asia Foundation (TAF), the National Building Research Organization (NBRO), and ADPC through PROMISE.  The objectives of the seminars were to highlight the important role of local authorities and administrators in DRR, and to create awareness on the available mandates for disaster risk management.  The one-day seminars were held in Galle on May 14, in Kandy on May 17, and in Baticoloa on May 21.  For capacity building this month, PROMISE SL organized a training course on fire safety and emergency response on May 17 and 18.  Thirty participants came from vulnerable locations within Matara City.  The sessions were conducted by the Fire Department Training Centre of the Colombo Municipal Council.

A. From the Region

(1) ASEAN 10+3 Seminar on Urban Disaster Emergency Management

The countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations plus 3 framework held a seminar on urban disaster emergency management last May 5 to 7 in Beijing, China.  The aims of the seminar revolved around three themes: to promote disaster information exchange and experience sharing in Comprehensive Urban Disaster Prevention and Reduction; to enhance capacity building on urban disaster emergency management of the countries; and to promote exchange and regional cooperation on urban disaster management.  The Seminar was opened jointly by representatives of the Chinese Government and the ASEAN secretariat, followed by keynote speeches by PRO China, UNISDR and ADPC, and presentations by the country delegates.  The ADPC keynote address by Mr. NMSI Arambepola stressed how disparities in equity and equality increase vulnerability and lead to disasters when coupled with uncontrolled urban growth, high exposure to hazards, and a limited institutional structure at city-level to respond to and prepare for emergencies...All these contributed to deliberations over the needs and priorities for ASEAN 10 + 3 regional cooperation in urban disaster risk management.  Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member Countries had a substantive meeting with the Heads of State/Government of the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The ASEAN 10 + 3 Seminar ended with the adoption of the final report that included the following recommendations to improve urban disaster risk management and urban disaster emergency management: 1) Governments need to take immediate action in urban risk assessment through hazard mapping and vulnerability assessment, with the support of national technical institutions and experts.  2) Reduce disaster risk accumulated from previous urban development, and avoid creating new urban disaster risks in the future.  3) Governments need to start nation-wide evaluation of the safety of schools and hospitals against earthquakes.  4) Governments need to be more proactive in reducing urban risks due to geo-physical and hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods and storms through collaborative effort and concerted action with concrete action plans.

(2) Landmark legal remedies for environmental protection in the Philippines

The Philippine Supreme Court have promulgated a set of procedures and legal remedies for protecting the environment while balancing economic interests and promoting sustainability as a principle.  The “Rules of Procedures for Environmental Cases” or A.M. No. 09-6-8-SC were effective 29 APRIL 2010, and include the world’s first writ of nature (writ of kalikasan) that is a remedy available to a natural or juridical person whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated or threatened  (download the Rules of procedure with rationale here: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/Environmental_Rationale.pdf).  The writ has been hailed by many as a landmark policy for the Philippines and the world (read for example the statement by Greenpeace at: http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/press/releases/greenpeace-statement-on-the-pr).  A test case has already been filed by the Global Legal Action on Climate Change to compel the government to implement two existing laws that could ease flooding (read on the case here: http://members.alertnet.org/db/an_art/60167/2010/04/24-111207-1.htm). 

(3) Floods in Afghanistan
(based on reports by IRIN)

Flash floods have killed over 80 people, killed livestock, ruined crops, and damaged more than 5,000 houses in 12 provinces last end April to early May.  Rapid assessment teams comprising staff from UN agencies, NGOs and government bodies have posted relief needs here: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/SMAR-85K8PD?OpenDocument&rc=3&emid=ACOS-635N96.)

(4) Floods and mudslides in Tajikistan
(based on a report from IRIN)

Heavy rains triggered mudslides and floods that killed at least 15 people and 40 others are missing.  Thousands lost their homes as well as a small river overflowed on May 7 in the town of Kulob, found close to the Afghan border and about 195km southeast of Dushanbe.

(5) Floods in Sri Lanka
(based on reports from IRIN, DMC and Alertnet)

Heavy pre-monsoon rains during May 14–20 affected the southern and western coastal areas of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Puttlam, Ratnapura and Galle districts.  Rainfall of 330mm fell within a 24-hour period of May 19-20, and the SL Department of Meteorology issued a bad weather advisory, and the National Building Research Organisation issued landslide level 2 warnings to prepare people for evacuation if they were living at or next to cut slopes in Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Colombo and Gampaha.  The water destroyed 498 houses, damaged 2499 houses, and inundating many roads.  Nearly 550,000 people were affected - 194,000 people are from Gampaha alone – and the government had open 85 evacuation centers; by end May only 21 centers were still operating.

(6) Flood alert up in Pakistan
(based on a report from IRIN)

Villages in Shangla, Mansehra, Kala Dhaka and Kohistan districts are under threat threat from flooding from a lake in Hunza district that was formed after a landslide in January.  As many as 50,000 people could be at risk as rain and melting glaciers are contributing to the increase in the lake’s water level. People from 32 flooded villages were evacuated.

B. Calls for Submission

(7) Call for nominations: ISDR Campaign Making Cities Resilient: “My City is Getting Ready”

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction had a global launch of their campaign on May 30.  Cities that have signed up for the campaign come from all around the world including China, Germany, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Senegal, and Sweden.  It is possible to take part as participants, role model cities and local leaders.  Learn more about the campaign at: http://www.unisdr.org/english/campaigns/campaign2010-2011/.

C. Conferences and Courses

(8) Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Local Development course

Organizers: Delnet and the International Labor Organization.  Enrollment is now open for the semi-residential course on Disaster Risk Reduction within a Framework of Sustainable Local Development. The course is aimed at key players in local development management and disaster risk reduction, such as policy and decision-makers and practitioners.  It intends to guide students on developing a strategic local development plan that incorporates DRR concerns.  Learn more about the course at: http://campus.delnetitcilo.net/public/en/specialisations/
Course_disaster_risk_reduction/general-information
.

 

(9) Benefiting from Earth Observation - Bridging the Data Gap for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region –  Kathmandu, Nepal, 4-6 October 2010

Organizers: ICIMOD, GEO and GIS Development.  The main objective of the international symposium is to foster regional and international cooperation to promote the use and access to earth observation for improved scientific knowledge and understanding for adaptation to climate change in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. The themes include space-based information for disaster management and spatial data infrastructure for climate change adaptation.  For more information, please go to: http://geoportal.icimod.org/symposium2010/.

 

(10) Announcement of ADPC Training Courses

ADPC announces three training courses under its Urban Disaster Risk Management (UDRM) theme in the second half of the year 2010.  The main objective of these training courses is to build the local, regional and international capacity in disaster risk reduction. ADPC offers a state-of-art training experience in these courses by integrating study materials, case studies, audio visual tools, field visits, hands-on exercises and integrated learning strategies. The extensive experiences in developing the understanding and skills of city development stakeholders in dealing with potential disaster risk through PROMISE in six Asian countries during last five years will be integrate in these training courses.

  • The 5th Regional Training Course on GIS for Disaster Management, Level-I from 16-27 August 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand: 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.  Co-organizers: Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente.

  • The 10th International Training Course on Flood Disaster Risk Management from 11-22 October 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand: 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.

  •  The 6th Regional Training Course on GIS for Disaster Risk Assessment, Level-II from 1-12 November 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand: 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.  Co-organizers: Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente.

Internationally experienced practitioners and experts from ADPC and partner organizations will conduct and facilitate these courses. These courses will be very much helpful in opening new dimensions in organizational work front and render new approach towards safe and sustainable development. It will also help to improve the skill of disaster management professionals who intends to work in the field and use GIS in their day-today work. For more information and registration please visit: http://www.adpc.net/v2007/.

D. Useful Resources

(11) Education Outcomes in the Philippines, ADB 2010

http://mms.adb.org/e-Notification/url.asp?ID=18714&DOCID=20160

(12) India: Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2007, Ministry of Environment and Forests, 2010

http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/Report_INCCA.pdf

(13) India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth, McKinsey Global Institute, April 2010

http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/reports/freepass_pdfs/india_urbanization/
MGI_india_urbanization_fullreport.pdf

(14) Integrating Gender into Community Based Disaster Risk Management. Training Manual, TLC 2010

http://www.gdnonline.org/resources/gender-in-cbdrm.pdf

(15) Nepal: Political and Economic Update

http://mms.adb.org/e-Notification/url.asp?ID=18714&DOCID=20158

 
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