Disaster risk reduction in Asia: identifying and maximising opportunities for action

From 11-14 December 2011, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors, who is the program officer of CEDAC’s Field Program, was invited by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) and Wilton Park to participate in the international conference on Disaster Risk Management in Asia that was held in Ravindra Hotel, Pattaya, Thailand.

The objectives of the conference were presented as follows:

  • To bring together key actors for Asia working on disaster preparedness and risk reeducation at sub national, national, regional and international level, to identify opportunities which can be maximized to ensure greater risk reduction in Asia over the next 25 years in the face of increased risk from climate change and ongoing risks from geologically driven disasters.
  • Highlight the potential increase in severe weather events as an expected result of climate change; identify their impact in Asia and appropriate disaster risk reduction (DRR) responses, linked to the recent IPCC report on Severe Weather Events.  Include experts working on climate change adaptation to meet with DRR experts.
  • Identify new opportunities for disaster risk reduction and how these can be applied, for instance through the use of the media, working with climate change adaptation programmes and economic development programmes particularly in urban settings.

During the conference, many presenters shared their knowledge and experiences in relation to the natural disasters that recently happened in their respective countries, including the recent flood in Thailand and Pakistan, Wenchuan earthquake, using new technology, disaster risk financing, and reducing risk of the extreme events, and engaging community to manage the natural disaster etc. 

It is very important to note that the MISMANAGEMENT and poor COORDINATION among key stakeholders are vital factors to worsen the natural disasters. We need to make sure that the data and information is transferred very well among the authorities, civil society, private sector, women, children etc. If so, we can mitigate the risk, reduce mortality rate, and increase resilience. On the other hand, to prepare a good disaster management plan, we actually need scientific data, which is accurate and reliable. In the current climate change context, we don’t only need the data from the past and the present but we also need to data from the future, we need to know what will happen in the future. Therefore climate modeling or future forecasting is very important. If we can predict correctly what will happen in the future, we can prepare beforehand to mitigate and respond the risk in an effective manner.

Another interesting point for me is also the Urban Disaster Management. Actually, the urban area is also facing to natural disaster and it needs to be prepared for that. Let imagine, the urban area is strongly relies on the power, if no power — what will happen? If a big flood happens to the urban area, what should we do? Where is the flood way? I think that the people who live in the city or urban area need to understand well about the possible natural disaster especially they need to know how to do if the disaster happens. The government authorities, technicians/ engineers, politician / policy decision makers need to understand and prepare the management plan correctly. Land use planning is also a hot topic that was discussed during the conference.

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Disaster risk reduction in Asia: identifying and maximising opportunities for action

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