Alexander Pama (left), Executive Director of the Philippines' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, receives a briefing from a local meteorologist on the expected movement of Typhoon Hagupit. (Photo: Kenly Monteagudo)
GENEVA, 8 December 2014 — As negotiations resume this week in Geneva on a global agreement on disaster risk management, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said the Philippines “zero casualty” approach to managing Typhoon Hagupit was further evidence of Asia’s leadership role in reducing mortality and tackling economic losses from disasters.
UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlström said: “UNISDR believes that the Philippines government has done an excellent job of putting into action the lessons learned from Typhoon Haiyan. All arms of government, including PAGASA and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and municipalities like Tacloban have pulled together to save lives and minimize the damage being inflicted by this disaster event.”
She said: “We have been telling this story since the Indian Ocean tsunami ten years ago that nations and communities have the power to reduce their losses if they are well-organized, understand the nature of risk and develop the capacity to deliver early warnings and evacuate groups at risk ahead of the disaster event.
“There has been a steady decline in mortality related to extreme weather events over the last ten years and fewer people are being directly affected by such events as a culture of disaster risk reduction spreads across some of the most populous and hazard-exposed countries in the world including China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.”
Ms. Wahlström said that all these countries had committed to implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), a global framework for disaster risk reduction, which was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2005 following the Indian Ocean tsunami which claimed 227,000 lives on December 26, 2004. For the third time in 30 years, the UN is holding a World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction #WCDRR, in March 2015, that will adopt a revised HFA when it convenes in Sendai, Japan.
“The Hyogo Framework for Action is being updated for adoption early next year. The experience of managing extreme weather events like Typhoon Hagupit is vital to our negotiations this week on setting targets and indicators for measuring progress in reducing exposure and vulnerability to extreme weather events. Progress also has to be made in reducing poverty, ecosystem decline, upgrading informal settlements, respecting planning laws and building codes as these are all just as responsible for driving risk as climate change which currently has everyone’s attention.”