Tuesday, June 24, 2014

UN lauds Philippines for disaster risk reduction initiatives

Jerry Esplanada in Emergency Management via McClatchy News: The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in Asia that have made "striking paradigm shifts" in disaster risk reduction and management, according to the head of the Geneva-based United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

Margareta Wahlstrom, also UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special representative on disaster risk reduction, on Saturday reported that Manila is "developing more sophisticated methods of gauging the impact of typhoons following 'Haiyan,'" also called Supertyphoon "Yolanda," which devastated Eastern Visayas in November.

"Even though Cyclone Haiyan claimed over 6,200 lives when it struck the Philippines, many more were spared because of early warnings and evacuations, particularly in the province of Cebu," she said in a statement issued the day before the opening of the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Bangkok.

Like the Philippines, Bangladesh "has one of the best cyclone preparedness programs today, having lost hundreds of thousands of lives in the past," Wahlstrom pointed out. Indonesia, for its part, "has made disaster risk reduction a pillar of its national development policy," she said.

"A similar revolution needs to take place in managing disaster risks across public and private sectors in the region in order to stop the hemorrhaging of assets and wealth caused by disasters," she emphasized. According to the UNISDR chief, "there are encouraging signs that the business community across Asia is alert to the issue."...

Typhoon damage post-Haiyan, US State Department photo

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