Group photo session with the Vice President H.E. U Henry Van Thio, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Knut Ostby, key government stakeholders, UNDP Representatives and donors. [Photo: Yamon Phu Thit/UNDP Myanmar]

 

Nay Pyi Taw, 9th August 2019 The Vice President, H.E. U Henry Van Thio, the chairman of the National Disaster Management Committee launched the National Earthquake Preparedness and Response Plan in Nay Pyi Taw on 6 August 2019. The Plan was developed by Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in collaboration with relevant ministries and departments with the technical support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the funding support from the European Union.

The National Earthquake Preparedness and Response Plan aims to minimize damage to property, reduce injury and lives lost, and normalize the lives of those affected in a timely manner in case of a damaging earthquake in the country. It also seeks to contribute to the achievements of Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Goals and respond to Global and Regional Frameworks which Myanmar has endorsed.

Speaking at the launching event, the Vice President, H.E. U Henry Van Thio emphasized the importance of preparedness, and reinforced the 2018 directives of the National Disaster Management Committee to the relevant ministries and departments to develop and implement preparedness and response plans. He further added “it is highly important that all stakeholders – Union Government, State/Region Governments, UN agencies, INGOs and NGOs peruse the National Earthquake Preparedness and Response Plan.”

United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Knut Ostby commending the Government of Myanmar’s efforts to address the threat of natural disasters and climate change associated risks said, “As a result of these efforts, Myanmar people are today much more aware and better prepared for natural disasters. But much needs to be done. And the National Earthquake Preparedness and Response Plan is an important instrument that will be strengthen coordination at all levels, enhance preparedness and awareness and strengthen response mechanisms”

Myanmar is highly prone to earthquakes due to its geographical location on or close to several faults such as the Sagaing fault, Kyauk Kyan fault, Kalatan fault and Kabaw fault.  The country experienced major earthquakes which caused loss of lives and damages of infrastructures and historical buildings such as the earthquake events in  1923, 2011, and 2016 earthquakes.

A large earthquake would cause major damage on a regional scale, damaging thousands of buildings, disrupting transportation and utility systems, and causing thousands of injuries or fatalities. This Plan will guide preparedness measures and strengthen response functions and coordination among National Disaster Management Working Committees and relevant departments and organizations.

Mr. Julien Buha Collette, Technical Expert for European Union Humanitarian Aid said, “The finalization of the national Earthquake preparedness and response plan is the conclusion of years of fruitful and constructive collaboration between Union and state governments UN and international partners and donors. We have already witness the positive impact of this process with increased awareness among the population, simulation exercises and completion of preparedness and response plan at state level. It is essential that earthquake preparedness and response remains a priority for all stake holders in Myanmar and in the region”

The Plan has two main parts: preparedness and response. The first part includes the preparedness measures to be implemented in collaboration with the relevant government departments and communities. The second part includes the response functions of the National Disaster Management Committee and its Work Committees for the different phases of response.

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