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Disasters

From Japan to Bhutan: Improving the resilience of cultural heritage sites

Barbara Minguez Garcia's picture
 Barbara Minguez Garcia 2018
When it comes to their heritage buildings, both Bhutan and Japan have one common enemy: Fire. A view of Wangduephodrang Dzong in Bhutan which was destroyed by fire in 2012. Credit: Barbara Minguez Garcia 2018

About 2,749 miles, three countries, and a sea separate Kyoto, Japan, and Thimphu, Bhutan. The countries’ languages are different, and so are their histories.

But when it comes to their heritage buildings, both nations have one common enemy: Fire.

And to help prevent fire hazards, there’s a lot Bhutan can learn from Japan’s experience.

To that end, a Bhutanese delegation visited Tokyo and Kyoto last year to attend the Resilient Cultural Heritage and Tourism Technical Deep Dive to learn best practices on risk preparedness and mitigation, and apply them to Bhutan’s context.

Such knowledge is critical as Bhutan’s communities live in and around great heritage sites.

Empowering Indian women after a natural disaster hits

Hyunjee Oh's picture
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand in India’s Himalayan foothills. Damyanti Devi, the mother of a young daughter, lost her home and livelihood. Her old house in Rudraprayag was completely washed away by the landslide.
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand in India’s Himalayan foothills. Damyanti Devi, the mother of a young daughter, lost her home and livelihood. Her old house in Rudraprayag was completely washed away by the landslide.


This blog is part of a series exploring housing reconstruction progress in Uttarakhand, India.
  
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand in India’s Himalayan foothills.
 
The disaster – the worst in the country since the 2003 tsunami—hit more than 4,200 villages, damaged 2,500 houses, and killed 4,000 people.
 
Damyanti Devi, the mother of a young daughter, lost her home and livelihood. Her old house in Rudraprayag was completely washed away by the landslide.
 
“The river was fast swelling up,” she said. “It had crossed the danger mark and reached close to our house. We just took our daughter and left with an umbrella and a lantern.”
 
She now owns a new house abuzz with music and her daughter’s laughs.
 
Like thousands of other people in Uttarakhand, Damyanti received support through the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to rebuild her home.
 
This support channeled through the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project (UDRP) also helped build better roads and mitigate future disaster risks in local communities.
 
A key component of the project was to rebuild 2,382 more resilient houses based on the owner-driven housing reconstruction model,  which allows families to rebuild according to their specific needs.
 
This community-driven approach is important as women are typically at greater risk from natural hazards than men, particularly those who are poor and live in low-income countries.
 
There is indeed strong evidence that disasters impact women differently and amplify gender inequalities.
 
Women and men have different perceptions of their surroundings and coping abilities, roles, responsibilities, and resources before or in the aftermath of a disaster.
 
Gender-sensitive approaches to disaster prevention, mitigation, adaptation, relief, recovery, and reconstruction can save more lives and promote more gender-inclusive development.  

With that in mind, the  housing reconstruction component of UDRP helped empower women like Damyanti in the aftermath of a disaster in 4 different ways:

د افغانستان ښوونځي معياري او قوی ودانيو ته اړتيا لري

Julian Palma's picture
Also available in: English | دری
 Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
د هرات ولایت په یوه لمړنی ښوونځي کې یو ښوونکي د لوبې وسایلو په واسطه د زده کونکو څخه د اعدادو پوښتنه کوي. عکس: د رومی مشورتي شرکت / د نړیوال بانک

په افغانستان کې تحصیلي او ښوونیزو آسانتیاوو ته لاسرسۍ په تېرو اوولسو کلونو کې د پراختیايي پروګرامونو یو مهم مُحرک بلل کېږي. په ۲۰۰۱ زېږدیز کال کې، تقریباَ په عمومي توګه نجونې د دغه هېواد په ښوونیز او تحصیلي نظام کې ګډون نه درلود او فقط یو مېلیون هلکانو د دې هېواد په ۳۴۰۰ ښوونځېو کې نوم لیکنه کړې وه. خو په ۲۰۱۵ زېږدیز کال کې په ۱۶۴۰۰ ښوونځیو کې د اته میلیونو ماشومانو څخه زیات ګډون د دې لامل شو، څو د نوم لیکنې په بهیرکې ۹ ځله زیاتوالی رامنځته شي.

 که څه هم د پوهنې په برخه کې لاسته راوړنې خورا مثبتې ارزول کېږي، خو د افغانستان په ښوونځیو کې د ښوونیز چاپېریال کېفیت او مصؤنیت اوس هم ډاډمن نه بلل کېږي: لږ تر لږه نیمايي درسي خونې  په خورا ګڼه ګونه حالت کې د خېمو لاندې او یا هم په یو خورا ناسم چاپېریال کې په زده کړو بوخت دي.

د طبیعي پېښو له امله د افغانستان د زیانمن کېدنې اټکل، د ښوونځیو لپاره د نویو او خوندي ودانیو جوړول او د شته ودانیو تحکیم او بیارغونې لپاره زیاتېدونکې اړتیا لا پیاوړې کوي، ترڅو په دې توګه د زده کوونکو اوښوونکو د ژوند او سلامتیا په هراړخیزه توګه تامین شي.

فرضاً که د زده کړې په یوه ښوونیزه ورځ کې زلزلې وشې، شونې ده، چې په ښوونځیو کې د معیاري ودانیو او زېربناوو د نه شتون له امله ۵ مېلیونه زده کوونکي ژوند له ګواښ سره مخامخ شي. پخوا طبېعي پېښو او له هغې څخه د اړوندو خطرونو په هکله ډاډمنو معلوماتو او ارقامو ته لاسرسۍ ډیر محدود و، او له همدې امله د پیښود مشخص وخت او راتلونکي په هکله دقیق او ډاډمن  معلومات او ارقاموته ته لاسرسۍ یوه ستره ستونزه بلل کېدله.

په افغانستان کې د څو لسیزو جګړې له امله د معلوماتو او شمېرو راټولول یو پېچلۍ حالت ځان ته غوره کړی، څرنګه چې دغه وضعیت نه یوازې له طبیعي پېښو او خطرونو سره د دغه هېواد د تګلارې په وړاندې یو ستر خنډ بلل کېږي، بلکه د طبېعي پېښو د زیانونو په وړاندې د ځواب ورکوونکو ظرفیتونو په شمېر کې هم خورا زیات کموالی رامنځته کړی.

Making schools more resilient in Afghanistan

Julian Palma's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
 Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
A primary school teacher in western Herat Province is teaching her students numbers with toys. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/World Bank

In Afghanistan, access to education has been a successful driver of development over the last seventeen years.

In 2001, one million children--almost none of them girls-- were enrolled in 3,400 schools. In 2015, there was a nine-fold increase in enrolment with more than eight million students in 16,400 schools, of whom almost 40 percent were girls.

While it's encouraging to see progress in access to education, the quality and safety of the school facilities are not as reassuring : One of every two students in Afghanistan learns in overcrowded temporary shelters or in fragile outdoor conditions.
 
Given Afghanistan's vulnerability to natural disasters, it's urgent to build safer schools and rehabilitate older facilities in order to protect lives.

If an earthquake were to hit Afghanistan on a school day, 5 million students would be affected. 

In the past, addressing infrastructure resilience has been a challenge since information regarding current and future disaster and climate risk has been extremely limited and fragmented.

Compounded by decades of conflict, this has undermined Afghanistan's ability to cope and effectively respond to natural disasters.

مکاتب افغانستان نیازمند ساختمان های معیاری و مستحکم

Julian Palma's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
 Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank
یک استاد در یکی از مکاتب ابتداییه در ولایت هرات در حال پرسیدن اعداد از شاگردان اش با استفاده از سامان بازی (بازیچه های اطفال) است.  عکس: شرکت مشورتی رومی/بانک جهانی

طی هفده سال گذشته دسترسی به تسهیلات تعلیمی و تحصیلی به مثابۀ یکی از مُحرک های کلیدی انکشافی در افغانستان محسوب میگردد. در سال ۲۰۰۱ میلادی، تقریباَ  در کل دختران شامل ساختار تعلیمی و تحصیلی دراین کشور نبوده و فقط یک میلیون طفل پسر در ۳۴۰۰ مکاتب این کشور ثبت نام نموده بودند. اما این رقم در سال ۲۰۱۵ میلادی با حضور یافتن بیشتر از هشت میلیون متعلم در ۱۶۴۰۰  مکتب ۹ برابر  افزایش را نشان میدهد.

با آنکه پیشرفت ها در عرصه معارف اُمیدوار کننده است، اما کیفیت و مصؤنیت محیط آموزشی در مکاتب هنوز هم قابل اطمینان پنداشته نمیشود: حد اقل نیمی از  شاگردان در  محیط فوق العاده مزدحم در زیر خیمه ها و یا هم در شرایط محیطی بسیار نامطلوب  مصروف فراگیری تعلیم میباشند
              
با در نظرداشت شرایط آسیب پذیري افغانستان در مقابل حوادث طبیعی، اعمار ساختمان های مصؤن برای مکاتب  و احیای مجدد مکاتب و تسهیلات موجود به منظور حفظ جان  و زندگی شاگردان و معلمین یک ضرورت مبرم بشمار میرود.
اگر فرض کنیم زلزله در جریان یک روز درسی صورت گیرد، ممکن زندگی ۵ میلیون شاگرد بنابر عدم معیاری بودن سا ختمان ها، تعمیرات و زیربنا ها در مکاتب  با خطر مواجه گردد.  

در گذشته رسیدگی به این معضل امکان پذیر نبود زیرا عدم موجودیت معلومات و آمار های دقیق در مورد وقوع حوادث در زمان مشخص و یا آینده منحیث یک چالش عمده محسوب میشد.

Rebuilding houses and livelihoods in post-earthquake Nepal

Mio Takada's picture
When the 2015 earthquake hit Nepal, Fulmati Mijar lost her home and livelihood. Now, she has turned her life around, learned carpentry and quake-resistant techniques, and started a business
When the 2015 earthquake hit Nepal, Fulmati Mijar lost her home and livelihood. Now, she has turned her life around, learned carpentry and quake-resistant techniques, and started a business. Credit: World Bank.

 
Fulmati Mijar, a mother of three living in Nuwakot district in Nepal, used to earn her living from daily wage labor along with her husband.
 
On April 25, 2015, their lives took a turn for the worse when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, killing 8,790 people and affecting 8 million more—or nearly a third of the country’s population.
 
The catastrophe destroyed Fulmati’s house and made her family more vulnerable.
 
Yet, it did not dent her resolve.
 
When housing reconstruction started through the Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project (EHRP), Fulmari joined her village’s Community Organization (CO), supported by the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) and learned carpentry and earthquake-resistant techniques for housing reconstruction.
 
She initially received a NPR18,000 ($176) loan to invest in a small furniture enterprise. With the funds, her family started making windows, doors, and kitchen racks, which were in high demand. After repaying the loan, she received another loan to upgrade their furniture enterprise, where today she and her family make their living.
 
At the time of the 2015 earthquake, full recovery was estimated to cost $8.2 billion, with the housing recovery component amounting to $3.8 billion. The World Bank immediately pledged $500 million to support the emergency response. During the reconstruction phase, the most urgent—and largest—need was to rebuild nearly 750,000 houses.
 
More than two years since the earthquake, restoring lost or affected livelihoods has become more important.

What does risk management have to do with Sri Lankan families?

Ralph van Doorn's picture
While the number of Sri Lankans living under the poverty line has decreased tremendously, many still live right above it and can fall back into extreme poverty if they experience a shock such as a natural disaster. Photo Credit: Lakshman Nadaraja 


Imagine there is a small fire in your house: someone forgot to put out a cigarette stub and accidentally set your rubbish bin on fire. You will need just one bucket of water to put it out.
 
But up the ante, and it is no longer possible for an individual to handle it. For instance, if your entire house was on fire, you would need to call your local fire station for help.
 
Now, go up one more level. You live in a thickly wooded part of a district like Badulla, and a forest fire covering hundreds of acres is threatening homes and businesses—then it would take the resources of the country, and maybe even aid and support from international allies, to battle the fire and help people recover.
 
I am telling you this story to illustrate how there are levels of risks—and responses—to consider when discussing a subject like integrated risk management.
 
As part of our work on the recently released Sri Lanka Development Update (SLDU) we considered the risks and opportunities facing Sri Lanka, beginning from the smallest unit of the household and building up to the country, as represented by the public sector.
 
There’s been a lot of talk about the macro-economy and national level reforms and policy initiatives. However, in this blog I wanted to focus on your families. What does integrated risk management mean for households?
 
The poorest Sri Lankan families are vulnerable to shocks

Protecting forests in India from disastrous fires

Siddhanta Das's picture

India’s commitment to sustainable development is clearly demonstrated through its innovative and progressive forest policies. The Government’s policy of incentivising state governments to improve their forest cover is evident in the 14th Finance Commission’s allocation of 7.5% of total revenues on the basis of the state’s forest cover. This makes India the implementer of the world’s largest Payment for Environmental Services scheme.

Over the last few years, the forest and tree cover in the country has been steadily increasing, and at present, it stands at 24.16% of the total geographic area. This affirms that sustainable forest management and long-term thinking about natural assets are foundations for strong and sustained growth. This is not to say that there are no challenges. Forest fires are a leading cause of forest degradation in India, and the current pattern of widespread and frequent fires could make it more difficult for India to meet its long-term goal of bringing 33% of its geographical area under forest & tree cover and to achieve its international commitment to create additional carbon sinks of 2.5 billion to 3 billion tons worth of CO2 equivalent by 2030.

Recognizing the challenge of forest fires in India, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the World Bank co-organized an international workshop on Forest Fire Prevention and Management from November 1 to 3, 2017. The discussion benefitted from the perspectives of government officials from India, researchers, experts and representatives from Australia, Belarus, Canada, Mexico, Nepal, the United States of America, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This workshop served as an opportunity for knowledge exchange to help India devise a robust strategy to tackle the challenge of forest fires. It was also an opportunity for Indian states to share good practices with each other, and with countries from around the world, and to learn from other countries.

Building safer houses in Northern India

Hyunjee Oh's picture
The State of Uttarakhand is endowed with vast natural resources, and is one of the most frequented pilgrimage/ tourist destinations in India. However, the State also has a very fragile terrain that is also highly prone to earthquakes.
The State of Uttarakhand is endowed with vast natural resources, and is one of the most frequented pilgrimage and tourist destinations in India. However, the State also has a very fragile terrain that is also highly prone to earthquakes. Credit: GFDRR/ World Bank
This blog is part of a series exploring the housing reconstruction progress in Uttarakhand, India.
 
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the state of Uttarakhand located in the Himalayan foothills. The disaster – the worst in the country since the 2003 tsunami—hit more than 4,200 villages, damaged 2,500 houses, and killed 4,000 people.
 
Since 2013, the Government of Uttarakhand with support from the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) has helped the people of Uttarakhand restore their homes, build better roads, and better manage future disaster risks through the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project (UDRP).
 
Central to the project is rebuilding 2,382 houses that are more resilient to disasters. The project has promoted an owner-driven housing reconstruction model, whereby beneficiaries rebuild their houses on their own with technical and social support from a local NGO, using guidelines issued by the project for disaster resilient housing.
 
Watch how we’ve helped build safer houses for the people in Uttarakhand:
 
Building Safer Houses in Northern India

 

Forest fires: need for rethinking management strategies

Dr. H. S. Suresh's picture

Earth’s landscape has been subjected to both natural and anthropogenic fires for millions of years.

Natural, lightning-caused fires are known to have occurred in geological time continuously at least since the late Silurian epoch, 400 million years ago, and have shaped the evolution of plant communities.

Hominids have used controlled fire as a tool to transform the landscape since about 700,000 years ago. These hominids were Homo erectus, ancestors of modern humans. Paleofire scientists, biogeographers and anthropologists all agree that hominid use of fire for various purposes has extensively transformed the vegetation of Earth over this period.
 

Dry season ground fire in Mudumalai.  Photo Credit: Dr. H. S. Suresh

The nature of Earth’s modern-day biomes would be substantially different if there had been no fires at all. William Bond and colleagues (2005) used a Dynamic Global Vegetation Model to simulate the area under closed forest with and without fire. They estimated that in the absence of fire, the area of closed forest would double from the present 27% to 56% of present vegetated area, with corresponding increase in biomass and carbon stocks. This would be at the expense of C4 grasslands and certain types of shrub-land in cooler climates.

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