Myanmar, Indonesia to launch disaster response handbook
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.
A woman surveys flooding in Sidoktaya township, Magwe Region, in July.