Preparing to handle earthquakes
The Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr. Win Myat Aye, recently launched a project that builds resilience of vulnerable communities and the Government of Myanmar at the national and sub-national levels to withstand the impact of earthquakes through better preparedness.
The project received Euro 800,000 from the European Commission - European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and will be implemented by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Relief and Resettlement in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Myanmar is prone to earthquakes, being located on one of the two main earthquake belts of the world. Increasing urbanization brought on by the country’s economic growth, coupled with poor building standards and lack of awareness put Myanmar at high risk.
“Disaster preparedness in Myanmar is usually for multi-hazards. Since the impact of an earthquake is quite different from any other disasters, we still need to enhance earthquake specific preparedness capacity, including earthquake response procedures, response team, tools and equipment etc.,” said Dr Win Myat Aye.
Speaking at the launch, Ms. Clementina Cantoni, ECHO Technical Expert said, “It is important to emphasize that institutional strengthening is key in earthquake preparedness as earthquake preparedness calls for long-term intervention. The project aims to bring scientific and technical knowledge into day to day development interventions.”
Dawn Del Rio, UNDP Deputy Country Director acknowledged the presence of participants from the Union and State/regional level and highlighted the importance of cooperation and effective coordination from all stakeholders to ensure seamless interventions in the preparedness for and response to earthquakes.
Through the project, the National Earthquake Preparedness and Response Plan and the National Earthquake Resilient Strategy will be developed. Public awareness in the most earthquake prone six states and regions - Bago, Chin, Kachin, Mandalay, Sagaing and Yangon – will be promoted as well. The project builds on past initiatives to strengthen Myanmar’s capacity for disaster risk reduction.
Aftermath of the 2016 earthquake in Bagan.