Improving disaster preparedness

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  • Heavy rain is expected to hit Mon State and northern Taninthayi Region with 95 per cent degree of certainty, north-eastern Bago Region and Kayin State with 80 to 90 percent degree of certainty, central Bago Region, Kayah State, western Ayeyawady Region, north-western Kachin State, western Sagaing Region and Yangon with 20 to 40 percent degree of certainty.
    Meanwhile, the low pressure over the Bay of Bengal and monsoon is strong to vigorous over the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. It means some parts of Myanmar will be under heavy rain fall these days.
    We experienced in the past torrential rain that caused landslides in hilly areas. To guard against the onslaught of natural disasters, we need to learn the lessons of the past.
    Severe landslides occurred in Chin State in 2015 and in Kayah State in 2017 causing heavy damages. Small landslides hit Shan State this rainy season leaving some fatalities.
    It is difficult to predict exactly when and where such disasters will hit, even though such torrential rain hit every year in the hilly regions which are vulnerable to landslides.
    Whether rains will cause landslides depends on the local terrain and soil conditions. The soil in hilly areas has a tendency to crumble easily when it becomes saturated, and the capital city is particularly vulnerable to landslides.
    In hilly areas, people living on mountain slopes are at risk of landslides when torrential rains fall.
    As part of the preparedness, it is important to carry out landslide drills for ensuring an immediate emergency response which includes creating a precise and strong system.
    Are people who live in landslide-prone areas being properly informed of potential dangers? Local authorities must monitor how residents respond to their alerts and take the necessary steps to improve it.
    The readiness for effective action, administrative management and preparedness are as important as tackling the aftermath of a disaster.
    These processes were related to protecting human life and property, and if the country suffered a disaster, effective connections and organizations would play a vital role.
    Effective response is needed for the implementation process. At the same time, we should not forget that the media also plays an important role in raising awareness of preparedness for disasters.
    The most important thing is for the ministries concerned to join hands for preparedness to be able to reduce the impact of these unpredictable disasters.
    It is also crucial that residents in disaster-prone areas be made fully aware of what could happen when their neighborhood is hit by violent weather — and for them to be able to respond appropriately in emergencies.
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