News / Asia

Asian Nations Hail Disaster Prevention Efforts

Rescuers carry people acting as victims as they rappel down a high-rise building during the National Earthquake Drill at the Ortigas commercial center as part of a disaster preparedness effort in suburban Pasig City, east of Manila, Philippines, June 2010
Rescuers carry people acting as victims as they rappel down a high-rise building during the National Earthquake Drill at the Ortigas commercial center as part of a disaster preparedness effort in suburban Pasig City, east of Manila, Philippines, June 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Daniel Schearf

Officials in charge of dealing with disasters in Asia have hailed progress in efforts to better prepare the region. At a meeting in Thailand, they said climate change is worsening natural disasters, however, and that more cooperation and aid for developing countries is needed.

Officials from fifteen Asian countries gathered Wednesday in Bangkok for a two-day meeting of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center. The non-profit ADPC aims to make the region safer by reducing the risk of disasters in the region through cooperation and education.

Delegates attending the meeting applauded cooperative efforts to prevent and cope with disasters.

Risk management minimizes destruction

Nicholas Rosellini, deputy regional director for the United Nations Development Program for Asia and the Pacific, said decades of risk management and international cooperation in countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh had reduced the destruction there by natural disasters.

"Cyclone Sidr, which in 2007 affected nine million people in Bangladesh, resulted in 4,000 deaths. But, this is compared to the 140,000 that died in cyclone events in 1991 and more than a half million deaths in 1970," said Rosellini.

Delegates also noted the need for further cooperation in the Asia Pacific, considered the most disaster-prone region in the world.

Noeleen Heyzer, the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific, said Japan’s deadly earthquake and tsunami demonstrated no country has the capacity for disaster preparedness on their own.

Cooperation is key

"The damages and loss inflicted upon a wealthy and well-prepared country like Japan only focuses the need for constant planning and preparedness for disaster," Heyzer said. "With climate change, this threat of natural disaster will only worsen for Asia’s rapidly urbanizing areas and for the exposed island communities of the Pacific."

The Asia Pacific is seeing increasingly extreme weather events that some experts say could be due to climate change.

The region is every year hit with deadly tropical storms, drought, floods and mudslides.

Nadeem Ahmed, chairman of Pakistan’s national disaster management authority, said that during the last decade in Asia, the frequency and magnitude of disasters increased, and that climate change was making the situation worse.

"This is further compounded due to the fact that we have a huge population growth in some of our countries, unplanned urbanization, deforestation, poor land use management plans, inadequate enforcement of the building codes, and investment in high risk areas," said Ahmed.

Prevention efforts save lives, money

Ahmed said more support was needed for poorer countries, but donor nations needed to concentrate on disaster prevention rather than relief, which he said was less expensive.

For example, he said $40 million spent on flood protection in Pakistan could have reduced the $13 billion cost in losses and relief aid for recent floods by 90 percent.

Furthermore, Ahmed said that whereas in the past they stopped at addressing chemical and biological disasters, the nuclear plant crisis in Japan was what he called an "eye opener" and that it was now time for the region to discuss better preparing for the possibility of nuclear disasters.

Norway’s State Secretary Ingrid Fiskaa said while the disaster in Japan focused a lot of attention on mega-disasters, they must not forget the increasing number of disasters that are low to medium intensity.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid