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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid