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May 16, 2018

Vice President U Henry Van Thio calls for taking early preventive measures against disasters seasonally, regionally

Vice President U Henry Van Thio addresses the meeting of the National Natural Disaster Management Committee (1/2018) in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. PHoto: MNA
Vice President U Henry Van Thio addresses the meeting of the National Natural Disaster Management Committee (1/2018) in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. PHoto: MNA

Vice President U Henry Van Thi called for taking preventive measures for natural disasters seasonally and regionally yesterday as he addressed the National Natural Disaster Management Committee (1/2018) held at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in Nay Pyi Taw. .
The Vice President urged the members of the committee to discuss early preventive measures for both the approaching rainy season and unpredictable earthquakes, implementing the early preventive measures, and for the committee to be constantly alert for natural disaster management. He urged for punctual execution in natural disaster management concerning seasonally and regionally susceptible natural disasters.
On 24 April in Southern Pradesh in India, a series of 36,749 lightning bolts struck the state within a 13-hour timeframe, killing nine people. Since 2015, lightning strikes have killed 2,000 people every year, according to news reports. In Myanmar, between April 2017 and March 2018, 109 lightning strikes were reported around the country, killing 101 people and injuring 39. The Vice President said the approaching rainy season will possibly bring strong winds, storms, cyclones, heavy rains, lightning strikes, hail, floods, flash floods, and landslides and therefore early preventive measures should be discussed as soon as possible.
The Vice President also mentioned secondary disasters that can originate from a primary disaster in another area. He gave an example of a cyclone that once passed through Chittagong in Bangladesh into Maungtaw in Myanmar, bringing torrential rainfall in northern Myanmar and flash floods in Magway Region that resulted in 46 deaths and 115 disappearances of people. Looking at this, it is necessary to prepare for secondary disasters, said the Vice President.
The Vice President then said it was also necessary to prepare emergency response strategies and resettlement plans. He said it involved building houses in areas least likely to be affected by natural disasters as well as preplanning and cooperating with relevant ministries to reinstate transportation, rebuild roads and schools, and administer healthcare immediately after the effects of a natural disaster.
The Vice President said systematic long-term development goals and sustainability towards natural disasters must be included in resettlement plans. He mentioned that Myanmar was located on the Sagaing Fault, the biggest continental transform fault in Southeast Asia, which cuts through Yangon, Bago, Toungoo, Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay, and Myitkyina and was connected to other fault lines in Eastern Myanmar, Shan Hills, Laos, Thailand, and China.
The Vice President said there was some fear among the people from small-scale earthquakes that frequently occur such as the Pyu earthquake, and the ones in Kalay township, Chauk township, and Nay Pyi Taw. He said the public must be properly informed and ready for unpredictable earthquakes. To this end, he asked the committee members to evaluate to what extent these measures have been implemented and to cooperate with relevant ministries, region and state authorities to implement early preventive measures.
The Vice President also said that the committee should discuss strengthening or planning standard operating procedures (SOP) for earthquakes in various ministries. He also said the public needed greater awareness on earthquakes and its effects and more practice drills. He said new buildings must be checked for adherence to standard building codes and existing settlements built on fault lines should be carefully scrutinized and followed up with necessary plans. He mentioned that systematic implementation of preparedness, response and recovery in natural disaster management will prepare society for resiliently handling natural disasters.
Next, Committee Secretary Deputy Minister U Soe Aung explained the implementation process of the results from the committee meeting (2/2017) with relevant ministries and region and state authorities.—MNA

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