GENEVA, 12 October
– The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, arrived in Myanmar today at the invitation of the government, on a three-day visit during which she will engage with senior Government Ministers on a national action plan for disaster risk reduction and a Disaster Management Law.
Wahlström who leads the UN disaster risk reduction office, UNISDR, will discuss these and other disaster risk reduction issues at a meeting tomorrow (October 13), International Disaster Reduction Day, with government ministers. She will also be visiting coastal areas which were badly affected by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
In a statement issued prior to her visit, she said: “Myanmar is one of the most disaster-affected countries in Asia. It has been hit by six major cyclones in the last 40 years and is also vulnerable to multiple hazards such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and forest fires. UNISDR is willing to assist in whatever way we can to help the country reduce its risk which is fundamental to inclusive economic growth and poverty alleviation which are part of the new government’s reform agenda.”
Her visit takes place following a major Mid-Term review of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters which was adopted by Myanmar and 167 other UN member States in 2005 as a blueprint for reducing disaster losses.
She said: “UNISDR is supporting Myanmar in making disaster risk reduction a national and local priority for all citizens through engagement with the new National Disaster Preparedness Committee on developing law and regulations for disaster management and disaster risk reduction as recommended in the Hyogo Framework review.
“I am looking forward to hearing how the responses to Cyclone Giri last year and the Shan State earthquake in March this year benefitted from the many lessons learned from Cyclone Nargis especially in early warning, preparedness and response.”