Disaster resilience at local level

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  • The Asia-Pacific Region is the most water-related disaster prone region in the world. The rising frequency of water-related disasters in our region has forced us to respond with unity and resilience, but there is a wide variety in the degree and quality of response of individual nations.
    The increased frequency with which our country has been hit by floods, linked to climate change, deforestation and global warming, has long ago placed this matter on our and other people’s agenda.
    Myanmar has abundant water resources and our hydropower potential is considerable. At the same time, we are facing uneven distribution of rainfall, changing pattern of hydrological conditions and climate change, and floods and drought caused by environmental and ecological degradation.
    Due to torrential rains, lower parts of Myanmar and coastal areas are experiencing floods while upper Myanmar, which experienced the worst flood in decades in 2015, is expected to get heavy rain falls in August.
    Obviously, the effects of global warming are uneven and can bring worse consequences and countries, in tropical and subtropical regions, including Myanmar, are thought to be most vulnerable, for several reasons.
    The importance of preparing communities to help themselves and to strengthen disaster resilience is growing and we need to step up our efforts in supporting communities, departments concerned and organizations to strengthen their resilience against unforeseen or significant disruptions.
    Building disaster-resilient communities will take time and enormous resources. While the process moves slowly, local authorities can upgrade resources for rescue and relief. Meanwhile, under the leadership of the National Natural Disaster Management Committee, local government units can improve warning systems and protocols for timely evacuation, with decent facilities provided for housing evacuees.
    Preparedness efforts, early warning systems and communication systems must all be in place, all the time, and people must be properly informed and trained on what to do.
    We will have to work on several fronts, efficiently and creatively, using all available resources, starting with disaster prevention and mitigation. That includes doing the little things and getting them right.
    Regarding floods, our roads, drains, bridges, sewerage system, water-distribution mains and other public facilities must be strengthened.
    All institutions concerned in the country need to do more to cope with the growing disaster threat. Collaboration between us and regional countries will enable all to combat water-related disasters more effectively.
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