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Disaster laws can make a difference

When implemented, disaster risk reduction laws save lives and strengthen capacity at local and national level, according to a new study released today.
25 Jun 2014 News briefs

IPU urges parliaments to take action on disaster risk

The 130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union has concluded by urging its 164 member Parliaments to enhance their oversight role in reducing the impact and risk of disasters and “to take immediate action to review existing legislation related to disaster risk reduction.” The Assembly adopted a resolution on risk resilient development which stresses that “reducing disaster risk and protecting people’s lives are the legal responsibility of all public representatives.”
21 Mar 2014 Press release

IPU debates resolution on risk resilience

Parliamentarians from across the world are participating this week in a wide-ranging debate on disaster risk at the 130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which is set to adopt a ground-breaking resolution on risk-resilient development tomorrow.
19 Mar 2014 News briefs

Americas parliament lays down resilience law

Latin America has taken a step towards mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into national development policy instruments and poverty reduction strategies. The Latin American Parliament has adopted a protocol on disaster risk management that obliges its 23 member states to incorporate guiding principles of building resilience into existing or emerging legislation. The adoption of the protocol comes ahead of the 2014 Americas Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, to be held in Ecuador, in May.
30 Jan 2014 News briefs

Philippines unveils dedicated disaster risk budget for 2014

The Philippines’ national budget for 2014 has ensured dedicated funding for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation programmes. The move, just weeks after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, represents a significant change in the country’s funding priorities to include proactive disaster risk management as well as a focus on response and rehabilitation. A new US$293 million National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund replaces what was previously known as the Calamity Fund, which had a previous budget of US$158 million.
30 Dec 2013 News briefs

Dominican Republic approves disaster risk plan

The Dominican Republic has adopted a new ‘National Plan for Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management’. The President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, approved the plan that will define policy guidelines and basic principles for public and private institutions and civil society organizations. The plan focuses on the implementation of programmes that reduce disaster risk, ensure the safety of citizens and protect the country’s economic, social, environmental and cultural heritage.
26 Dec 2013 News briefs

New legislation strengthens EU disaster risk management

The European Parliament today paved the way for stronger cooperation in responding to disasters by adopting new legislation on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism set to come into force at the beginning of 2014. The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Ms Kristalina Georgieva, welcomed the vote, which she said would benefit Europe's citizens and communities globally. “A rising trend in natural and man-made disasters over the past decade has demonstrated that coherent, efficient and effective policies on disaster management are needed now more than ever”. Ms Georgieva said.
10 Dec 2013 News briefs

DRR takes centre stage of typhoon recovery

Disaster risk reduction is emerging as central to the Philippines’ recovery and reconstruction plans in the wake of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda. One of several leaders supporting increased investment in resilient structures is Mayor Ian Christopher Escario of Bantayan municipality, who oversaw a mass evacuation that limited the number of deaths to 15 people out of 90,000 in the face of the typhoon. “We were able to evacuate 30,000 people a couple of days before using sirens and radio messages. People were informed but nobody could foresee the violence of the storm surge,” Mayor Escario said. “Now we need to invest more in resilient infrastructures as all the roofs of the buildings have been blown away. Economic losses are huge and we are still assessing the damages and will take the necessary lessons of what happened.”
26 Nov 2013 News briefs

Philippines launches safe schools campaign post-Haiyan

The Philippines today looked to the future and launched a new “Safe Schools” campaign with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) even as the country continues to deal with the many humanitarian needs left behind by Typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda including the fact that thousands of children are unable to return to education because over 600 schools have been destroyed and 1.7 million children have lost their homes. Margareta Wahlström, the head of UNISDR, helped launch the initiative which will target 48,000 public schools, with the Under Secretary for the Department of Education, Dina Ocampo, Senator Loren Legarda and the UNDP Country Director, Tohishiro Tanaka. Under the slogan, “How Safe is Your School?” the programme is designed to raise public awareness and build social demand for safety checks, disaster preparedness, and school education on disaster risk reduction.
21 Nov 2013 Press release

Safe schools key to sustainable development

A new programme on school safety launched yesterday in the Philippines less than two weeks after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan urges pupils, teachers and communities to proactively assess the resilience and preparedness of their schools. The unveiling of the "How Safe Is Your School?” initiative in the Philippines is the first step of what the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) intends will be formalized as a global initiative at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Japan, in March 2015.
21 Nov 2013 News briefs

Evacuation saves whole island from Typhoon Haiyan

The prompt evacuation of 1,000 people from a tiny island that had all 500 houses destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan saved the entire population according to a local leader who has been a long-time champion for disaster risk reduction. The former Mayor of San Francisco, Cebu Province, Alfredo Arquillano, said years of work to strengthen community preparedness and reduce disaster risk prevented a catastrophe for the residents of Tulang Diyot. San Francisco is officially recognized as a role model by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in a highly hazard-prone part of the world. “The day before, when it was clear how bad the typhoon would be, we decided to evacuate all 1,000 people. Because we’ve done so much work on disaster risk everyone fully understood the need to move to safety,” Mr. Arquillano said. He is still referred to locally as Mayor Al.
15 Nov 2013 News briefs

Senator urges ‘don’t rebuild risks again’

As the Philippines embarks on a massive recovery effort in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan, one of the country’s leading senators said it is vital that “we do not rebuild the risks again”. Senator Loren Legarda lent her full support to ongoing efforts in search and rescue and emergency relief but also emphasized the need for a longer term vision of reconstruction that will reduce the vulnerability and exposure of communities to hazards. “Affected citizens immediately need food, water, clothing, shelter and medicines but we must now also start addressing the need to rehabilitate affected communities,” said Sen. Legarda, who is Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change. “It will not be enough to build people’s lives and communities to where they were before the disaster; we need to rebuild communities with the confidence that we are not rebuilding the risks again.
13 Nov 2013 News briefs

Biggest storm of 2013 set to hit Philippines

The Philippines’ comprehensive disaster risk management strategy has swung into action as the country braces itself for the arrival tomorrow of the planet’s strongest storm this year As super typhoon Haiyan bears down on the Philippines, the country’s President, Mr. Benigno Aquino, has directed maximum efforts to achieve the government’s zero casualty goal, which lies at the heart of the country’s disaster planning. A series of risk management and preparedness measures have clicked into action across regions and provinces that potentially lie in the typhoon’s path, including the planned evacuation of almost two million.
7 Nov 2013 News briefs

Seoul Declaration strengthens regional cooperation

The Heads of disaster management from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea have agreed to boost regional cooperation in the key areas of technology, information management and training programmes. The 3rd Trilateral Heads of Government Agency Meeting on Disaster Management issued a Joint Declaration emphasizing the vital role of regional cooperation to reduce disaster risk. The Vice Minister of Civil Affairs of China Gu Zhaoxi, Senior Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office of Japan Nishimura Yasutoshi, and Administrator of National Emergency Management Agency of the Republic of Korea Nam Sang-ho announced a series of collaborative initiatives.
1 Nov 2013 News briefs

Albania looks to regional insurance

As disasters continue to cost Albania dearly the country is cooperating on the launch of an innovative regional insurance scheme to complement a stronger domestic approach to disaster risk management. The Albanian Government has joined with Europa Re, the World Bank and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in preparatory work to launch the South Eastern Europe and Caucasus Catastrophe Risk insurance Facility. The mechanism should reduce the country’s significant fiscal exposure to disasters as a result of various hazards and man-made risk drivers. The insurance facility aims to provide cover for earthquakes and floods. Further risk models are due to be developed for extreme weather insurance.
29 Oct 2013 News briefs

Build resilient towns to avoid loss during disasters

Today marks the anniversary of the 1999 Super Cyclone that killed almost 10,000 people and washed away decades of development in the Indian State of Odisha. In the 14 years since the disaster, Odisha denotes 29 October as National Day for Disaster Reduction. This year’s event has added resonance as it comes days after Cyclone Phailin caused widespread devastation in Odisha. In today’s edition of The Pioneer, the second oldest English newspaper in India and one of the country’s leading publications, Dr Piyush Ranjan Rout, an Advocate for UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign and cofounder of the Local Governance Network in India, says Odisha’s disaster management has improved dramatically but still more needs to be done. An edited abstract appears below. Odisha has 480km of coastline, from Baleswar in the north to Ganjam in the south, drained by six peninsular river systems: Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Brahmani, Baitarani, Mahanadi, Rushikulya and their tributaries.
29 Oct 2013 News briefs

Earthquake disrupts hospitals and schools

The death toll in Tuesday’s 7.2 earthquake in the Philippines has risen to 156 with 3.2 million people affected including 47,000 displaced. There have been 1,213 aftershocks recorded including 24 of which were felt. An assessment released today by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council cites damage or destruction of over 2,000 homes and damage to seaports, airports, churches, government/public buildings, hospitals and private establishments in the Provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Leyte. Two bodies were recovered yesterday from the inside the collapsed Congressman Castillo Memorial Hospital and city engineers declared three other hospitals in Cebu City unsafe to be occupied.
17 Oct 2013 News briefs

DRR champion launches national Resilience Award

Philippines Senator Loren Legarda marked the 2013 International Day for Disaster Reduction with the launch of a national Resilience Award to inspire local leadership to build safer communities. The United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation unveiled the initiative on the same weekend in which Typhoon Nari left at least 13 people dead in the northern provinces of the Philippines; a sobering reminder of the urgent need to strengthen resilience in this highly-hazard prone country. At least 750,000 people were affected before the typhoon made its way out into the South China Sea towards China and Viet Nam.
14 Oct 2013 News briefs

Odisha braces itself for floods

The State Government of Odisha in India is now bracing itself for the possibility of additional flooding as the remains of Cyclone Phailin move inland filling rivers and reservoirs to the brim. A State Government MP, Baijayant Panda, told UNISDR today that the flood situation is unpredictable and that early estimates are that 500,000 hectares of farmland have been inundated by the tidal surge and the heavy rains. “It is still too early to say the full extent of the damage to crop lands but it is significant. We may need help from central government with food stocks,” he said.
14 Oct 2013 News briefs

IPU forum focuses on disability

On the eve of the release of a major survey on disability and disasters a leading MP today urged people living with disabilities to follow his example and be more active in political life and decision-making roles. Mr Mirko Tomassoni, a member of the San Marino parliament, said people living with disabilities should embrace the ‘nothing about us without us’ mantra and challenge physical, institutional and attitudinal barriers that prevent inclusive disaster management planning. The MP said the wider issues in society that people living with disabilities faced were also relevant in times of disaster.
9 Oct 2013 News briefs

74 parliaments, one message: Reduce disaster risk

Legislators from 74 parliaments around the world yesterday agreed that building safer and more resilient communities requires a paradigm shift towards a “disaster risk-sensitive development model”. In a debate entitled “Towards risk-resilient development: Taking into account demographic trends and natural constraints” the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) 129th Assembly’s moved a step closer to adopting a resolution on the issue at its Spring 2014 assembly. One of the most striking interventions came from Chilean National Congress Deputy Dr Fernando Meza Moncada who described how, as a 14-year-old in 1960, he witnessed the most powerful earthquake in recorded history as it “swallowed houses whole killing hundreds of people”.
8 Oct 2013 News briefs

Call for post-2015 urban development goal

The World’s biggest forum of local leaders has called for sustainable urban development to be integral to the post-2015 development agenda. The Rabat Declaration at the conclusion of the Fourth United Cities and Local Governments Congress stated: “The new (post-2015) agenda should include specific goals for Sustainable Urban Development.” The Declaration also emphasized the importance of inclusion and a local focus. “The right to the city, inclusion, equality, access to essential services, decent work, adequate housing, culture, and a balanced environment are essential elements in the sustainable future for all.
7 Oct 2013 News briefs

Cities key to mitigating flood risk

Increased urban flooding poses a direct threat to the wellbeing of several metropolitan areas unless cities became more inclusive in their approaches to reduce disaster risk, the world’s biggest congress of local leaders was told Last year 116 million people around the world were affected by floods and many millions were forced to flee their homes. The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, told participants at the Fourth United Cities and Local Governments Congress that “inclusive cities are resilient cities”.
4 Oct 2013 News briefs

Finland set to launch HFA peer review

Finland is set to follow in the footsteps of the UK this week and launch a peer review of its national implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the global agreement on disaster risk reduction. The 4th European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) heard that Finland is aiming for the same impact as the UK’s peer review – the world’s first – which served as a catalyst for high-level engagement and reflection. As Finland prepared for its review, which gets underway on 5 October, EFDRR members called for a better understanding of advances in governance and accountability of disaster management. They agreed to consolidate Europe’s learning in this regard.
1 Oct 2013 News briefs

OECD survey finds Hyogo Framework boosted donor funding for disaster risk reduction

19 September 2013, GENEVA – The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, today welcomed the results of a new OECD survey of eleven donors which finds that “all respondents reported that their DRR funding has either slightly, or significantly, increased since the launch of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) in 2005.” The Hyogo Framework for Action was adopted by all UN member States following the Indian Ocean tsunami as an action plan for reducing mortality and economic losses from disasters. It expires in 2015 when it will be replaced by a new global framework to be agreed at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March, 2015, in Japan.
19 Sep 2013 Press release

More disasters but reduced losses in Europe

European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva this week told European parliamentarians that significant progress has been made in reducing disaster impacts across Europe over the last ten years of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the global agreement monitored by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
18 Sep 2013 News briefs

Island states plot safe course to Samoa

Small Island Developing States will this week seek to plot a course to a safer and more resilient future as part of their preparations for a major conference next year. The Inter-regional preparatory meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which opens today in Bridgetown, Barbados, brings together nations from the three SIDS regions – Caribbean, Pacific and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean South China Seas (AIMS) – to forge the way forward.
26 Aug 2013 News briefs

Lebanon embarks on regional first with disaster risk plan

GENEVA, 21 August 2013 - Lebanon is seeking to become the first country in the Arab region to adopt an overarching National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management that balances corrective, prospective and compensatory action. The building of political will and leadership, local collaboration, and regional and international partnerships is underpinning the effort despite significant ongoing challenges.
21 Aug 2013 News briefs

UN launches first-ever survey of people living with disabilities in disaster zones

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and partners today launched the first-ever survey of people living with disabilities on their coping capacity in the face of a disaster event. Margareta Wahlström, head of UNISDR, said today: “The survey will focus on a major blind spot in disaster management, the needs of the one billion or more people estimated to live with some form of disability. We can expect that as many as 30 million people living with a disability are affected during an average year by earthquakes and weather-related hazards.”
29 Jul 2013 Press release

School director pioneers safer learning for pupils

An innovative school director in northern Thailand has shown how his pupils can learn in safety with little additional financial cost and burden on staff. The Director of Baiboonlamphun School, Mr Pachernwaat Srichai, said school safety was becoming more of a priority with parents demanding secure environments for their children.
23 Jul 2013 News briefs
The United Nations General Assembly requested UNISDR to facilitate the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction The United Nations General Assembly requested UNISDR to facilitate the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
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