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Activity Report

31 March 2022

The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System Early Warning Service (QZSS-EWS) of Japan utilizes satellites to transmit disaster warning information. It augments ground-based telecommunication facilities (e.g., TV, radio, mobile phones, and other devices) - particularly in areas with limited network coverage (e.g., mountainous and island areas) - in disseminating the warning information. Since Japan will expand the QZSS-EWS in Asia and Pacific region in 2024, the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) has been conducting feasibility studies for this purpose. In a recent study, ADRC investigated the use cases for QZSS-EWS in three different local environments with different types of disaster risk, namely: (1) communities in coastal areas of Bangladesh, who are prone to tropical cyclones; (2) communities of farmers in the downstream areas of Bhutan Himalayas, who are prone to glacial lake flood outbursts (GLOF); and (3) communities of herders in the steppe of Mongolia, who are prone to dzud. 

Findings of the research indicate that:

- Due to limited network coverage, warning information either does not reach communities at risk or, when it does reach those communities, tends to be unclear, distorted, or delayed. Thus, there is real need to augment the early warning systems in these communities.
- In each of the target areas, there are entry points for the operationalization of QZSS-EWS, such as the Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) in Bangladesh, the GLOF early warning system in Bhutan, and the Dzud Risk Map in Mongolia.
- Investing in efforts to build capacity and raise awareness among community members is needed, as this will provide greater benefits in the long-run.

In the three communities, QZSS-EWS has great potential to save lives and livelihoods through, for example, direct alerts to individuals who are within the "radius of the disaster event" and notifying them of the nearest evacuation area; automatic sounding of community sirens activated through the Low Power Wide Area Networks; and the direct display of warning messages on electronic community message boards.

(2022/4/7 15:00)

29 March 2022(online)

The Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) has been conducting its Visiting Researcher (VR) programme and inviting VRs from ADRC member countries to spend time in Japan since 1999. As of March 2021, 117 officials from 27 member countries have participated in the programme, enabling ADRC to contribute to human resource development and disaster information sharing in those countries. During their programmes, VRs will study some of the most innovative and practical initiatives and technologies in the DRR field, and will learn about Japan's cooperation with and involvement in relevant international organizations. VRs are expected not only to help strengthen the DRR capacity of their own countries, but also to further promote cooperation between their countries and ADRC.

ADRC selected four VRs in FY2020, representing Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Thailand, but could not hold its regular on-site programme in Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADRC therefore decided to conduct its programming online. 
ADRC also selected four VRs in FY2021, representing Armenia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, ADRC decided to conduct hold an ADRC DRR Lecture Series for supporting the VR's research themes.

This 8-part Lecture Series was held in March 2022. ADRC invited Japanese DRR experts to give lectures on a variety of topics, such as disaster management at the national and local levels in Japan, disaster countermeasures for specific disasters (e.g., earthquakes, floods), the promotion of DRR education in schools, and disaster prevention activities in cooperation with some of the most vulnerable populations during disasters. To publicize the VR programme broadly, this Lecture Series was open not only to the eight selected VRs, but also to other officials in all of our ADRC member countries.

(2022/5/2 15:00)
29 March 2022(online)

During the first ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management Plus Japan (AMMDM + Japan) held on 14 October 2021, ASEAN and Japan agreed to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation that leverages innovation and technology in disaster management, including early warning, emergency response, information sharing, data analysis, and business continuity. In line with this agreement (as well as to contribute in the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2021-2025), the Cabinet Office of Japan and the ASEAN Secretariat organized the "Public-Private Seminar on Innovative Policies and Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction," which was held online on 29 March 2022. Organizations in Japan, including ADRC, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Climate Change Adaptation National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd., OYO Corporation, and PASCO CORPORATION collaborated on holding the seminar. 

The speakers of Session 1: DRR Innovations included representatives from: the ASEAN Secretariat, who presented the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook (ADRO); JICA, who showed the 8 Steps in Developing Local DRR Strategies; ADRC, who discussed DRR initiatives; NIES, who demonstrated climate projections; and JST, who introduced the concept of business continuity management (BCM). In his presentation, ADRC Executive Director NAKAGAWA Masaaki highlighted the center's innovative activities, including the Global unique disaster IDEntifier (GLIDE) system, Sentinel Asia, Quasi-Zenith Satellite System-Early Warning Service (QZSS-EWS), community-based DRR (e.g., Town Watching for DRR), and human resource development (e.g., VR Programme, and DRR Training commissioned by JICA). 

The speakers of Session 2: DRR Technologies included representatives from: ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center), who introduced the ICT Roadmap on Disaster Management; Cabinet Office of Japan, who presented on the Information Support Team (ISUT); Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd., who presented on Flood Risk Information Using Big Data; OYO Corporation, who discussed "ServiBers" as a risk communication tool; and PASCO CORPORATION, who demonstrated the contributions of remote sensing technologies in DRR. 

Outcomes of the seminar are expected to contribute to the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme 2021-2025 and the development of the ASEAN-Japan Work Plan on Disaster Management 2021-2025. The ASEAN secretariat also indicated that the Science and Technology Forum in 2023 is under consideration.

(2022/5/2 15:00)
9 March 2022(online)

On 9 March 2022, ADRC held an Online Tsunami Seminar FY2021 to promote World Tsunami Awareness Day. This year, ADRC invited Assistant Professor Mauricio Reyes Gallardo, from the University of Valparaiso in Chile, another tsunami prone country, to participate. He gave a lecture entitled "Experience with Tsunami Risk Reduction in Chile."

He started by giving an overview of Chile in which he described the historical events from the Spanish colonization down to the modern day, explained the changing population dynamics and increasing rate of urbanization, and outlined the geographical as well as topographical terrain of Chile that makes the country prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. In terms of disaster risks, he noted that Chile is a multi-hazard country, with earthquakes and tsunamis being its most notable hazards. He gave examples of earthquakes and tsunami disasters that impacted Chile in 1960, 2007, 2010, and 2015, among others. 

These tsunami experiences offered opportunities to improve and strengthen tsunami risk management. First, they led to technological improvements to tsunami early warning systems (e.g., the adoption of new tools from Japan) and to continued efforts to monitor and conduct research on tsunami events. Second, they led to the development and adoption of the National Building Code as well as the Reinforcement Code. Third, they led to the application and improvement of "Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Maremotos" (SNAM) and "Sistema Integrado de Prediccion y Alarma de Tsunamis" (SIPAT), which keep people informed about tsunami risks and help provide guidance relating to evacuation and safety measures. Despite improvements in tsunami risk management, he said that Chile remains vulnerable to tsunamis due to the following factors: lack of urban planning; societal, ecological, economical, and cultural complexities; lack of education; poor use of technology; and poorly maintained infrastructure. He concluded that good risk governance is needed for establishing systems that can bring order to the complexities of tsunami risk.

Finally, Mr NAKAGAWA Masaaki, Executive Director of ADRC, mentioned that the volcanic eruption in Tonga in January 2022 and the subsequent tsunami remind us of the danger of tsunamis in many other coastal countries. He concluded by saying that ADRC would promote tsunami disaster risk reduction by sharing experiences and lessons learned in Japan and many other countries.

ADRC would like to express its sincere gratitude to all the participants. Please visit the following site for details of the Online Tsunami Seminar:

(2022/5/2 15:00)
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