Better disaster management vital to country’s development

Photo A man sits on a flooded bridge in Mon State in July. Kaung Htet/The Myanmar Times

​19 Oct 18 - Myanmar Times - A comprehensive disaster management plan would go far in improving the lives of everyone in the country, said Vice President U Henry Van Thio. The vice president made the remark during an event to mark the UN's International Day for Disaster Reduction.

"If losses suffered as a result of natural disasters and the money spent to recover from such events was used for the nation's development, it would bring benefits to the lives of citizens," Vice President U Henry Van Thio said.

"To improve people's living conditions by reducing losses caused by natural disasters, comprehensive disaster management must be promoted," he said. Last year, Myanmar suffered natural disasters such as floods, landslides and earthquakes, which affected over 500,000 people and caused a total of K976.79 million in damage.

The government provided additional financial support of more than K5.58 billion for long-term plans to reduce the impact of natural disasters in 2017, in addition to aid for victims of natural disasters. In 2011, countries around the world suffered economic damage caused by natural disasters totalling US$400 billion, the highest losses between 1990 and this year.

According to World Bank statistics, the extent of economic damage in ASEAN amounts to US$4.4 billion a year, or 0.2 percent of GDP. "Natural disasters are a challenge that hinders sustainable development, therefore the government is trying to reduce the extent of damage as much as possible," said U Henry Van Thio.

"When it comes to natural disasters, those who have to respond first are the public. We have to improve the ability of the public to respond to disasters, as well as the ability of officials who have to follow up," he added.

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