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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid