20.04.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Historic cities in Southeast Asia and the Pacific prepare for Disaster Risk Reduction

George Town and Melaka (Malaysia), Kota Tua in Jakarta and Kota Lama in Semarang (Indonesia) and Levuka (Fiji) were selected as pilot case studies for the “Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction of Heritage Cities in Southeast Asia and Small Island Developing States in the Pacific”.

The project aims to build capacity for disaster risk reduction at heritage cities with a view to developing disaster risk reduction strategies and integrate them into the overall heritage management plan of heritage cities.

The inception workshop was successfully organized on 5 and 6 April at Bayview George Town Hotel, Penang. Twenty-four (24) participants from Malaysia, Indonesia and Fiji attended the workshop. Participants were expected to formulate strategies for Disaster Risk Reduction within one year of the inception workshop.

Dr. Rohit Jigyasu of Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, and Ms. Aparna Tandon of ICCROM were the resource persons of this workshop. A preliminary report (Desktop Study on Disaster Risk Reduction of Heritage Cities in Southeast Asia and Small Island Developing States of the Pacific) was prepared by Dr. Rohit Jigyasu and distributed to all the participants. The report gives the disaster risk profile of Southeast Asia and of Small Islands Developing States, describing the region’s biggest hazards (typhoons and cyclonic storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, epidemics, landslides, droughts, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires). It then addresses each of the pilot sites in turn, characterizing their major hazards and vulnerabilities, as well as any institutional systems and policies in place for previous and current efforts in Disaster Risk Reduction.

Immediately after the workshop, George Town World Heritage Incorporated has established the Emergency Response Team and all 12 members are currently undergoing fire fighting training with the Lebuh Pantai Fire and Rescue Station. Stakeholders from Malaysia--National Disaster Management Agency, National Heritage Department, George Town World Heritage Incorporated and City Council of Melaka--are looking forward to developing the George Town and Melaka World Heritage Site Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies.

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