SAC Vice Chairman Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win addresses International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
Nay Pyi Taw October 18
International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction-2023 (IDDRR) was observed at MICC-II here this morning addressed by Chairman of National Disaster Management Committee Vice Chairman of State Administration Council Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win.
Present together with the Vice-Senior General were union ministers, senior military officers, deputy ministers, heads of department and officials, officials from UN and NGOs and INGOs, prize-winner students and invited guests.
The Vice-Senior General said the annual observance of IDDRR began in 2000. Themes are selected annually based on priority tasks including disaster management.
The seven targets of Sendai Framework (2015-2030) adopted in Sendai, Japan, are selected as year-wise themes. UNDRR conducted a mid-term review of the progress in country-wise implementation of the seven targets and 38 indicators of Sendai Framework and issued a policy summary in May 2023 to promote disaster endurance.
This year’s theme “Fighting Inequality for a Resilient Future” was adopted to set up a disaster resilient human community in the future, and identify the basic factors -- the widening rich-and-poor gap, requirements for gender equality, vocational activities where sustainable development is absent and are subject to oppression and discrimination, failure to provide disaster reduction programs in multiple sectors, and lack of resources.
A global analysis report (2022) indicated the occurrence of nearly 400 mega disasters in 2015 alone and the possible rise of their numbers to 560 per year in 2030. It also said that the number of intense disasters related to global warming and climate change and the water related disasters triggered by El Nino and global warming might increase. Intense storms, abnormal rains, severe weather conditions, sudden floods and extreme inundations may also occur.
Climate change triggered natural disasters in many places of the world in 2022. Heat waves killed 16,305 persons in Europe; and thousands more perished and property damage was enormous due to droughts, earthquakes, floods, storms in the world. An earthquake of 7.8 in Richter scale jolted at the border between Syria and Turkey in February 2023, killing over 50,000 people and injuring many more. Its destructive power was immense. The Philippines also faced a typhoon and floods in July 2023. The typhoon also caused large-scale destruction in Fujian province, China and China (Taipei).
Myanmar faced the Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Mocha in May this year. Rakhine and Chin states suffered heavy losses and damages. From the time the cyclone started brewing over the sea, the Head of State was constantly monitoring it and giving necessary directives.
Hence, preparatory measures could be taken in accord with the planned natural disaster management programs. People living along the cyclone route
were evacuated and storm warnings were issued and leaflets on dos and don’ts were distributed. Disaster Management Centre (DMC) was opened and it carried out relief, rescue and response operations, and transport activities in coordination with local authorities.
Steps were taken in real time when the storm made a landfall, deaths and damage were much lower than that of Cyclone Naris in 2008. In responding and carrying out relief tasks, the policy of leaving no one without assistance was adopted and the situation returned to normal quickly thanks to cooperation of donors at home and abroad under the guidance of the chairman of the State Administration Council, leadership of the National Natural Disaster Management Committee and supervision of the relevant governments. Currently, measures are being taken to carry out resettlement tasks with the aim of making the region a better place resilient to natural disasters.
Natural disasters tend to more negatively affect underdeveloped, poorer or disaster prone countries and vulnerable pregnant women, children, the elderly and the disabled.
It is necessary to break the vicious cycle of natural disasters pushing people to poverty that doubles the impacts of natural disasters. Therefore, communities that have to live with natural disasters are required to strengthen preparations to face potential disasters relentlessly.
It is important to exert concerted efforts to reduce discrimination as much as possible because of gaps in education, technologies, living standards and between the rich and the poor.
In implementing disaster reduction programs, responsible officials are urged to take gender equality and the needs of vulnerable people into consideration and to exert efforts to sustain livelihoods. It is natural disaster resilience that is to be built long-term. In constructing infrastructure or doing business, it is necessary to take natural disaster perspectives for the durability of them.
Due to complexities of climate change events, it is difficult to predict the potential outbreaks and intensities of natural disasters and as a result, it is necessary to make preparations to reduce the damage as much as possible in case of natural disasters. In accordance with the theme of the ceremony“Fighting inequality for a Resilient Future. Let’s Break the Cycle,” all participants are urged to make concerted efforts to make preparations for disaster-prone regions to be resilient to natural disasters, to place emphasis on building disaster-resilient communities and infrastructure and to implement sustainable development of socio-economic life by reducing risks caused by natural disasters.
Then, a video message sent by the head of the UNDRR was played. Afterward, Vice Chairman (2) of the National Disaster Management Committee Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Soe Win reported on disaster management issues.
Then, staff of the Department of Disaster Management of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement staged the theatrical performance titled “From Inequality to Equality” and documentary video of preparations and rehabilitation in pre- and post-Cyclone Mocha of the National Disaster Management Committee.
Afterward, the Vice-Senior General presented medals, certificates of honor and cash rewards to students who won prizes in the high school level essay competition marking the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Then, union minister Lt-Gen Yar Pyae, U Than Swe, Dr Nyunt Pe and Dr Soe Win presented medals, certificates of honor and cash rewards to winners in the middle school level essay competition marking the event.
Afterward, the Vice-Senior General presented cash rewards for staff of the Department of Disaster Management who performed “From Inequality to Equality” play marking the event.
Then, the Vice-Senior General posed for documentary photographs together with participants and viewed the photo exhibition marking the event.