Myan­mar, In­done­sia to launch dis­as­ter response hand­book

The Myanmar Times - - News - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

AS one of the na­tions most sus­cep­ti­ble to natural dis­as­ters, Myan­mar is for­mu­lat­ing a response play­book for use through­out the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial from the Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment De­part­ment.

The ASEAN Hand­book on Dis­as­ter Re­cov­ery is be­ing com­piled by of­fi­cials from Myan­mar and In­done­sia. In de­vel­op­ment since 2013, the hand­book will fea­ture in-depth stud­ies of natural dis­as­ters that have oc­curred in ASEAN coun­tries, fo­cus­ing par­tic­u­larly on pre­ven­tion and re­cov­ery mea­sures, with in­put from re­gional ex­perts.

Speak­ing at the sixth meet­ing of the Re­cov­ery Work­ing Group of the ASEAN Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee last week, Dr Ko Ko Naing, di­rec­tor gen­eral of Myan­mar’s Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment De­part­ment, said the hand­book would be re­leased as soon as pos­si­ble.

The meet­ing, held in Nay Pyi Taw, ad­dressed how the hand­book should be used in fu­ture dis­as­ter pre­ven­tion and re­cov­ery.

Vice Pres­i­dent U Henry Van Thio said in his ad­dress that there are two ways of go­ing about re­con­struc­tion and re­cov­ery ef­forts in the wake of a natural dis­as­ter.

The first, he said, is to re­store dam­aged in­fra­struc­ture to its orig­i­nal state and let it be de­stroyed again when the next dis­as­ter hap­pens. But the sec­ond, and bet­ter, op­tion is to re­build by keep­ing re­silience in mind and tak­ing into ac­count fu­ture risks and the en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial con­se­quences of re­con­struc­tion.

The vice pres­i­dent, who is also chair of the Emer­gency Man­age­ment Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, favoured the sec­ond method.

“It is more ef­fec­tive and can re­duce the pos­si­bil­ity of losses caused by fu­ture natural dis­as­ters. Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion which is car­ried out sys­tem­at­i­cally can re­duce the like­li­hood of dam­age caused by natural dis­as­ters in the long-term,” he said.

The vice pres­i­dent said that the gov­ern­ment must also lis­ten to peo­ple’s voices and con­sider the needs of vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of so­ci­ety in its ap­proach to dis­as­ter re­cov­ery.

Over the past decade, ASEAN has been faced with some of the largest natural dis­as­ters on record, in­clud­ing the 2004 Box­ing Day Tsunami which hit In­done­sia, Myan­mar’s Cy­clone Nar­gis in 2008, the 2010 floods in Thai­land and most re­cently Cy­clone Haiyan which dev­as­tated the Philip­pines in 2013.

Ac­cord­ing to the Global Cli­mate Risk In­dex, sev­eral ASEAN coun­tries – Myan­mar, Cam­bo­dia and the Philip­pines – are among the world’s most vul­ner­a­ble to weather-re­lated dis­as­ters.

Photo: Nay Aung

A woman sur­veys flood­ing in Si­dok­taya town­ship, Magwe Re­gion, in July.

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