Disasters in Asia-Pacific: Call to cooperate using advanced technologies
During the 7th Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum (SDMOF) celebrated in Kuta, Indonesia, on 22 August 2013, the chairman of Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Syamsul Maarif, encouraged the members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to jointly take steps further on the implementation of more sophisticated technologies for disaster risk reduction in order to reduce their common vulnerability towards disasters. According to studies released in 2012, the Asia-Pacific region has been categorized as the most disaster-prone area in the world with around 2 million deaths due to natural disasters between 1970 and 2011.
“We have to install the most advanced technology as a warning system and for the prevention of natural disasters. This will ensure capital inflow and investments to disaster-prone areas continue flourishing,” Maarif stated. Only in 2011 the Asia-Pacific region suffered around US$294 billion in losses from disasters, a staggering 80 percent of the world’s disaster-related economic losses that year. For these reasons, Indonesia is proposing the need to utilize and share satellite data and information to provide accurate facts on disasters and possible disasters.The co-chair of the APEC Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG), Dr Li Wei Sen, reiterated the importance of collaborative efforts to manage, prevent and reduce disaster risks.