VP U Henry Van Thio calls for vigilant preparation for natural risks during monsoon

The National Disaster Management Committee held meeting no. 2/2019 at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, where committee Chairman Vice President U Henry Van Thio delivered opening remarks.

The Vice President first drew attention to the main focus of the meeting, saying that he mainly wanted to discuss the suggestions of the disaster management advisory group, natural disasters that normally occur during the rainy season, and the unpredictable nature of earthquakes.

The Vice President said the frequency and increasing force of natural disasters occurring due to climate change was no longer a unique case but now considered the norm. He highlighted the changes in the rain patterns and incidents of typhoons, cyclones, gales, hail, lightning strikes and floods that increased with each year.

During the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva held in May, experts and representatives of 182 countries and 100 humanitarian organizations, including from Myanmar, came to the conclusion that continuing international cooperation and inclusive collaboration was an integral part of reducing natural disasters in developing countries. He said they also discussed the importance of public participation in mitigating natural disasters.

The Vice President said that while cooperation has increased in disaster management efforts, we must continue to diligently make preparations in case of a natural disaster as they were unpredictable by nature.

He drew an example of Cyclone Fani’s landfall on the Indian state of Odisha where it caused around US$7 billion in damages and left destruction so bad experts estimate it would take ten years to restore the area into its former state. However, only 64 deaths were reported, showcasing how strong India’s preparations for responding to disasters were.

The Vice President said immediate attention needs to be given to the common natural disasters in the monsoon season, which included cyclones, floods, flash floods, lightning, collapsing of embankments, and landslides. He urged participants to draw on similar experiences from previous years to address these annual incidents. He also urged ministries and departments to work closely together and with the private organizations and the people in preparing for natural disasters.

The suggestions from the advisory group this year focused on climate change and its effect on agriculture, droughts, cyclones, lightning, fire and gales, said the Vice President.

He again urged participants to work in close collaboration with each other and across the ministries and regional governments to make all necessary preparations for natural disasters, search and rescue operations, emergency response, humanitarian aid, and the routes for vehicles to take in conducting these operations.

Next, the committee’s vice-chairman, Union Minister Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, reported on the nationwide cases of natural disasters, the casualties, damages and losses incurred from their destruction, the results of rescue operations, and the progress of preparations for natural disasters.

Following this, committee secretary Deputy Minister U Soe Aung reported on the completion and ongoing implementations of the union ministries, regional/state governments, and Nay Pyi Taw Council on the 19 decisions made during the committee’s previous meetings, and submitted the committee’s fund statement.

Next, committee members, who include union level ministers and sub-national chief ministers, discussed and reported on the progress of their respective tasks pertaining to preparation against natural disasters. The Vice President considered all the reports and suggestions submitted by the participants, gave instructions as necessary, and then concluded the meeting. Present at the meeting were committee vice-chairman Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Union Minister for Home Affairs, committee members including union ministers, the Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman and chief ministers of states/regions, deputy ministers, the chairman and secretary of the disaster management advisory group, permanent secretaries of union ministries, departmental heads and other officials.



(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

Ref; The Global New Light of Myanmar