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December 16, 2019

Tougher implementation of regulations in fragile areas key to reducing deaths in disasters

Climate variations and extreme weather events are now a new normal to us. This year is evidence, which also shows that some countries, including Myanmar, suffered both droughts and flooding at the same time this year. Across the ASEAN Region, studies reveal that in terms of earthquake and tsunami risks, the Philippines and Indonesia are at the highest rank, while in terms of flood risks, Myanmar, Lao, Vietnam and Cambodia have stood at the highest rank.
According to disaster statistics, the ASEAN region has experienced some 1,400 disasters of various scales from January 2012 to September 2019. Out of these reported disasters, flooding is the most frequent disaster, at over 60 percent. Other disasters, caused by strong winds, storms and landslides, are reported to be around 18%, 13% and 12%, respectively.
Myanmar ranked 42nd in 171 countries of the world that are most at risk to natural disasters, and ranked 15th highest in the world for a lack of readiness in responding to natural disasters.
Public participation is vital for natural disaster readiness.
Weather disasters are being affected by climate change that is caused by humans. The devastation can be worsened if governments and businesses fail to invest in building resilience, despite the evidence of runaway climate change.
In Myanmar, deforestation and people residing in risk areas worsened the effects of floods and landslides. The fact can be seen when the deadly landslide that struck Paung in Mon State resulted in a death toll that rose to 59.
The deadly disasters in Myanmar, especially involving landslides, point to the need for tougher implementation of logging and mining regulations in fragile ecologies.
It is obvious that we need to be ready to resist and respond to natural disasters.
It is found that this depends upon the sturdiness of the country’s bridges and buildings, having safe and secure waterways, roadways and airways transport, along with having secure communications and adequate electrical power.
The new government is working on natural disaster response preparation that includes the strengthening of roads and bridges, improving communications and increasing the usage of electric power.
According to the disaster management law, Myanmar established the Disaster Management Fund, which can be annually refilled with 20 billion Myanmar Kyats.
Keeping the building of resilience in mind, the Disaster Management Fund has been effectively utilized in preventing disasters, responses and recovery.
We hope that the best practices of risk-informed recovery can become a strong stimulant and model for further integration of disaster recovery to ensure we remain resilient in development programmes.

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