PATONG, PHUKET: “How can communities best prepare themselves for disaster?” was the question posed to participants at an international workshop held earlier this week in Patong.
The Sixth Practitioners’ Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and the Pacific was held over three days, September 15-17, and brought together some 190 “influential people” from 26 countries – representing governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and communities across the Asia-Pacific region.
Their goal: working to reduce the impact of disasters, natural and otherwise.
Organized jointly by the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (Southeast Asia Regional Office) and the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) in Bangkok, the workshop’s aims included sharing community-based disaster risk reduction initiatives and learning from previous disasters.
“This workshop is a vital opportunity for key decision-makers, practitioners and community leaders to share information regarding how to reduce the impact of disasters and to build safer communities,” reporters were told.
“Communities play the dominant role in community-based disaster risk reduction – not government – because it is communities themselves that face the hazards when disaster strikes,” said Asia Disaster Preparedness Center Executive Director Dr Bhichit Rattakul.
“The key to survival is local preparedness for the first 24 hours [after a disaster hits], before government assistance arrives,” he added.
— Pimwara Choksakulpan
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