Towards people-centred development

More investment in disaster counter-measures needed: Vice-President

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Vice President U Henry Van Thio looks at photos displayed at the International Day for Disaster Reduction, 2017. Photo: MNA

Vice President U Henry Van Thio stressed the need to evaluate the effectiveness of Myanmar’s existing mechanisms in mitigating the impact of disasters, inviting governments, local and international organisations and the private sector to invest more in short-term and long-term disaster counter-measures.
“It is impossible to significantly reduce the number of affected population globally without preparedness and prevention,” said U Henry Van Thio, in his capacity as the chairperson of the National Disaster Management Committee (NDMC).
Speaking at the ceremony yesterday to observe the International Day for Disaster Reduction, 2017, in Nay Pyi Taw, he urged the government and the private sector to understand the underlying risks and make informed decisions for their businesses and development work.
The country’s people are more accessible to the information related to the impending disasters; however, very few people are likely to apply the disaster risk information in their lives. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gave guidance to both the national and local governments recently to take into account the prevailing climate change phenomena in preparing their development planning.
“We will have to suffer a lot, when the development gains in place are destroyed by natural disasters. Since we cannot get rid of natural hazards, what we can do is just to mitigate their impacts by means of preparedness and prevention before disaster,” he said.
In the first semester of year 2017, there were 149 disaster strikes in 73 countries across the globe, according to The International Disaster Database. Those catastrophes claimed 3,162 lives, affected 80 million people and cost US$32.4 billion in direct economic losses.

The Asia Region has gained the championship in terms of the number of disaster occurrences, casualties and economic loss from disasters, officials said.
Two decades ago, an estimated 1.35 million people lost their lives due to disasters, and of them, it is known that tsunami is kill more people on a global scale compared to other natural hazards, while floods and drought bring the highest long-term economic hardships, statistics show.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction was designated in 1989, and in accordance with the Resolution 64/200 of the United Nations General Assembly held on December 21, 2009, every 13th October commemorates IDDR event.
It is annually celebrated worldwide with a specific theme since 2000. Myanmar has celebrated the IDDR commemoration every year since 2010 with the theme: “My City is getting Ready”. From 2011 to 2015, themes with a special focus on vulnerable groups such as children, women, disabled persons, the elderly and Indigenous knowledge are set up by year.
Myanmar is now heading towards “The People-Centered Development”, the right time to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction Measures into our development endeavors simultaneously, the vice-president said.
With that in mind, the Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction (MAPDRR), 2017 was launched with the engagement of all the stakeholders on 9th October.
In MAPDRR 2017, the State Counsellor calls for the constructive cooperation of our people who are the backbone of our country in building a truly disaster resilient Myanmar.
Following U Henry Van Thio’s address, Ms. Xiaojie Fan, Resident Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, read out a message sent by the UN special envoy on disasters.

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