Copyright © 2009 by Chester B. Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.
The developments of various forms of multilateral initiatives have been a major feature in the Asia Pacific region in the past decade. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is one, formally established in 1994 as a forum for multilateral security dialogue, has brought countries on both sides of the Pacific Rim into much closer interaction with each other. Besides in this formal organization there are also several multilateral initiatives undertaken by scholars and other members of civil societies together with government officials in their private capacities, usually known as Track Two initiatives. All of these activities are aimed at promoting regional security and prosperity through the growth of greater understanding and interdependence among the participants, with the ultimate objective of creating an Asia Pacific community.
In accordance with the Chairman's Statement of the Fifth ASEAN Regional Forum (Manila, 27 July 1998) and in pursuance of the recommendations of the Second Inter-Sessional Meeting on Disaster Relief (ISM-DR) at Bangkok on 18-20 February 1998, the Third ARF Inter-Sessional Meeting on Disaster Relief was held on 11-14 April 1999 in Moscow. The meeting was organized by the Russian Federation and Vietnam and attended by delegations from 21 ARF participants. Representatives of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the ASEAN Secretariat, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) and the Inter-State Council on Natural and Man-Made Disasters participated as resource persons and guest speakers. Most delegations included representatives of their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense as well as other agencies involved in disaster management. It was recognized by participants that bringing together defense and non-defense officials is serving the overall objectives of confidence building of the ARF. It was also noted that for the first time in ARF history the ISM-DR was co-chaired by representatives of disaster management agencies.
In promoting effective coordination during disasters, cooperation and effective response must come together. Cooperation with regard to disaster-preparedness and response referred to in NATO as “civil emergency planning”. This has been taking place between NATO countries for years. It was extended to include Partner countries in the 1990s and makes up the largest non-military component of Partnership for Peace activities. Effective responses to disasters call for the coordination of transport facilities, medical resources, communications, disaster-response capabilities and other civil resources. All countries are responsible for ensuring that plans are in place at the national level for dealing with emergencies. However, given the potential cross-border character of some disasters and the need to be able to respond effectively to the calls for international assistance, cooperation and planning at the international level is indispensable. Other international organizations, such as the ASEAN Committee for Disaster Management (ACDM), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union, are also important participants, as non-governmental relief organizations.
II. Preparing for Disasters in the Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelago located in the Ring of Fire. It lies between the two major tectonic plates and in one of the typhoon belts of the world. The country’s geologic and geographic condition as well as physical configuration allow it to experience manifold hazards every year which have resulted to gargantuan losses in the lives and property of the Filipino people.
Disasters (Duque: 1999) have always been part of life of the Filipino and learned to live with them. Their resiliency to overcome these difficulties is a symbol of the steadfastness of the Filipinos who have always remained undaunted despite these adversities that way. Deeply concerned with the serious effects of disasters, upon the lives and properties of the people, and realizing the fact that disasters occurrence has to be a way of life of the Filipinos due to its geographical location, the Government of the Philippines has instituted to counteract the ill-effects of disasters in terms of laws and regulations, organizations and Disaster Management Planning among others.
According to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) Report in 2006, Filipinos cannot avoid the wrath of nature and bear the brunt of disasters like the Mt. Pinatubo eruption that caused thousands to flee and the Ormoc flood that left thousands dead. But they can mitigate the impact of disasters by being prepared. It was after the 1984 typhoon that Lugsongan began a disaster preparedness program with the help of Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC). Because of these disaster preparedness programs they are able to draw more lessons to be learned:
1) Disaster Action Team was created and public meetings were held to identify which households were most vulnerable to natural hazards.
2) The community then made plans on how to improve their safety and using volunteer labor, built an evacuation center that provided Lugsongan residents refuge and saved their lives in 2001.
3) Lugsongan is perhaps one of the best arguments for disaster preparedness and of involving communities in such programs.
Its story illustrates the wisdom of letting people know what hazards they face and what they can do before, during and after a natural disaster to limit damage to their property and keep casualty count as low as possible. There are many other factors to consider in dealing with disasters in the Philippines:
a) People matter the most is that they should be engaged in disaster preparedness, yet in a country that is highly vulnerable to disasters – community-based disaster preparedness remains in its infancy.
b) Still dominant is a centralized disaster management system that is largely response-oriented or which springs into action only after a calamity occurs.
c) Experts say that there are many other disasters that escape the news but cause damage to the lives of the poor, locking them even more to the cycle of poverty.
d) From 1994 to 2003, an average of 2.1 million Filipinos was affected by natural disasters each year, with about 650 people dying annually.
e) A World Bank study also says that the country’s vulnerability to natural hazards costs the government an annual average of 15 billion in direct damages or more than 0.5 percent of the country’s gross income.
f) The same study makes the case for an effective preparedness program – “a dollar spent on preparedness saves seven dollars on response.” Initiatives focused on building community disaster preparedness and response capacity is particularly important. Efforts directed at this level do not necessarily involve great expense, particularly if all stakeholders work together with clear goals, roles and responsibilities.
g) Any kind of disaster preparedness program necessitates accurate information about the specific vulnerabilities and risks faced by a community.
h) Hazard mapping is considered by experts as key to community-level disaster preparedness, however, disaster preparedness has to be seen from a more thorough perspective and not just a technical one.
III. Basic Laws and Organizations of Disaster Management Program in the Philippines
The Basic Law in the implementation of disaster management program in the Philippines (Duque: 1999) is based on the Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1566, stating that, this Decree which was promulgated on June 11, 1978 calls for the “Strengthening of the Philippine Disaster Control Capability and Establishing the National Program on Community Disaster Preparedness”. Its salient provisions include:
1) State policy on self-reliance among local officials and their constituents in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters.
2) Organization of the National, Regional and Local Disaster Coordinating Councils (DCCs).
3) Preparation of the National Calamities and Disaster Preparedness Plan (NCDPP) by the Office of Civil Defense and implementing plans by the NDCC member-agencies and local DCCs.
4) Conduct of periodic drills and exercises by concerned agencies and local DCCs.
5) Authority for the local government units to program funds for disaster preparedness activities such as the organization of DCCs, establishment of Disaster Operations Center (DOC) and training and equipping of DCC response teams. This is in addition to the five percent under Sec. 324 (d) of the Local Government Code of 1991, as amended.
In implementing Rules and regulations of PD 1566, the disaster management activities of DCC member-agencies as well as procedures and guidelines for inter-agency coordination and dissemination of information during the three (3) phases are defined, namely:
1) Pre-Disaster Phase which includes planning for disaster, organizing, training, drills, stockpiling, resource data canvassing, public information/awareness drive, communications and warning activities.
2) Emergency Phase
3) Post-Emergency Phase
Other laws pertaining with disaster management provisions (Duque: 1999) are the following:
1) PD 1096 - Otherwise known as the National Building Code of the Philippines. It specifies minimum requirements and standards on building design for buildings to protect against fires and natural disasters.
2) Rule 1040 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (as amended) provides for the organization of disaster control groups/health safety committee in every place of employment and the conduct of periodic drills and exercises in work places.
3) PD 1185 Otherwise known as the “Fire Code of the Philippines”. This Decree requires, among others, the administrators or occupants of buildings, structures and other premises or facilities and other responsible persons to comply with the following: a) Inspection requirement by the Bureau of Fire Protection as a prerequisite to the grant of permits and/or licenses by LGUs or other government agencies concerned; b) Provisions for safety measures for hazardous materials as well as for hazardous operations/processes; c) Provisions for fire safety construction, protection and warning system such as firesprinklers, alarm devices, firewalls, fire exit plan, etc; d) Conduct of periodic fire and exit drills.
4) R.A. 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, as amended. The LGC of 1991 contains provisions supportive of the goals and objectives of the disaster preparedness, prevention/mitigation programs. These provisions of the LGC reinforce the pursuit of Disaster Management Program at the local government level.
For the Organizational Structure of Disaster Management Program in the Philippines, to put it more aptly, the disaster management involves many players in the bureaucracy, there exists a National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) chaired by the Secretary of National Defense, with the Administrator, Office of Civil Defense as its Executive Officer with membership from all executive departments. The NDCC is the coordinating and supervising body at the national level for disaster management in the country. NDCC has direct local links, which are themselves coordinated through Regional, Provincial, Municipal/City Disaster Coordinating Councils. The disaster management authority is the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) under the Department of National Defense. Thus, the basic Philippine law on disaster management (Duque: 1999), under PD 1566, promulgated in 1978, provides for the organization of multi-sectoral disaster coordinating councils at every level of government, from the national level to the barangay (or village) level. Through these disaster coordinating councils, which are able to link with all relevant government agencies and civic organizations, Philippine communities mobilize resources and capabilities needed to manage disasters.
IV. Multilateral Approaches
ASEAN (Anwar: 1991) has been able to deploy its growing weight and international stature to advance both its collective interests and the interests of individual members in various international fora. The effectiveness of these multilateral approaches has been a major factor for the members' continuing support for ASEAN even when other achievements have not always been wholly satisfactory.
The last decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in most organizations and agencies from a traditional relief and disaster preparedness focus, towards a developmental approach incorporating hazard mitigation and vulnerability reduction concerns. In parallel with this paradigm shift, there has been growing evidence showing that top-down approaches may lead to inequitable, unsustainable and irrelevant results. Many top-down programs fail to address the specific local needs of vulnerable communities, ignore the potential of local resources and capacities and may in some cases even increase people's vulnerability. By the time of the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction, held in Yokohama, Japan in 1994, a broad consensus was emerging in favor of Community Based Disaster Management (CBDM) approaches, which was later reflected in the Yokohama Message and Strategy.
In the emergency planning and disaster management fields, information—especially the right information—is crucial in preparing for and responding to disasters. In partnership with the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has developed a comprehensive program named the Disaster Information Sharing and Communications Network (DISCNet) to facilitate information sharing among ASEAN’s 10-member countries. DISCNet evolved from the 2004 conference announcing the "Launching of the ASEAN Regional Program on Disaster Management," held in Bali, Indonesia. During the workshop, information sharing was identified as a strategic priority.
Later in the Philippines, in order to create this network, the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) and National Disaster and Coordinating Council (NDCC) conducted in-country Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Assessments, visiting with disaster management officials in every ASEAN member nation. These assessments were then compiled into an ICT Report identifying information and technology gaps, and providing a tool for officials to actively seek funding to fill these gaps. The ICT Report, and the ability it gives officials to identify gaps, is a key component of DISCNet. Another element of the project is the linking of disaster-related web sites from all the ASEAN countries—a task successfully completed in early 2005. A third element of DISCNet is promoting the networking capabilities of various member nations by supporting regional disaster mitigation exercises. This is currently being pursued in partnership between PDC, ACDM, and ASEAN-member nations. As these countries rebuild and others prepare for possible future disasters, the ability of disaster managers to work collaboratively on a regional basis becomes increasingly important. Because DISCNet is informative and easy to use, representatives of ASEAN member countries have whole-heartedly endorsed the program and welcome the ability to use it as a tool to strengthen their disaster management capabilities.
Furthermore, (Anwar: 1991) where multilateral efforts can be carried out without encountering too much nationalist sensitivity or security paranoia is in dealing with natural disasters, such as earthquake, flood, typhoon and draught. Since the multilateral assistance offered will be in the nature of humanitarian relief, most countries affected by the disaster will usually be grateful for any help they can get.
V. Disaster Reduction Cooperation among Asian Neighbors
While the Philippines (Duque: 1999) has largely relied on its own resources to manage the disasters it had encountered, it has also benefited from tremendous international, and particularly Asian cooperation in this field. The similarity in the types and severity of disaster exposure shared by Asian countries make this useful and important. For the Philippines, this cooperation has contributed to the rapid development of national and local disaster management capabilities. She sets examples, such as, in terms of transfer of technology and training in disaster reduction, the Philippines has benefited from international cooperation in such examples as training of Filipino experts on Japan on disaster prevention technology and administration, improving cyclone warning response, and a seismic engineering; in Thailand on disaster management at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, and in Australia or radiological emergencies. Another is, in terms of receipt of disaster relief assistance, the Philippines has benefited from generosity and kindness of many governments and nations. The extent of this foreign assistance is such that the Philippine has developed and implemented guidelines for the smooth and expeditious handling and receipt of food, clothing, medicines and equipment donated by foreign governments and civic organizations for disaster relief and rehabilitation. The Office of the President serves as the primary conduit for all these donations to be channeled to the affected communities.
In fact, these illustrative examples cited point to the catalyzing role of international cooperation. It brings new and added capabilities, which may not have been fully developed yet in the country (Duque: 1999). It also increases the benefits of sharing so that the benefactor as well as the recipient gains something from their cooperation. While international cooperation in disaster reduction has been extensive and gratifying thus far, there could be other areas of possible improvements in this field of international cooperation.
During the Third ARF Inter-sessional Meeting on Disaster Relief at Moscow, Russia, It was stressed that regional cooperation issues should be closely inter-connected with improvements in the regional security environment It is also vital to maintain transparency and openness and to work out certain criteria for cooperation. The Meeting welcomed the offer by the Philippines to convene an ARF Conference on Enhancing Capacities of Early Warning Systems. The proposed Conference was considered by the delegates to be an important step for improving individual national capacities in early warning systems and enhancing cooperation among ARF participants. The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) also offered to collaborate with the Philippines on this activity and to assist with an inventory of early warning systems and experts. And in respect to the Philippine's proposal, the US reaffirmed its earlier offer to fund the compilation of an inventory of existing early warning systems and leading experts that could be used by the Philippines to help structure and conduct the proposed Conference. The inventory will be undertaken by the ADPC and was made available to the Philippines by late August 1999.
In terms of disaster management and response, the Meeting reaffirmed its commitment to work on the development of national and international disaster-related capabilities, to capitalize on existing arrangements and resources, and to enhance coordination between the ARF and disaster-related regional and international institutions. Most of the delegates acknowledged the supportive role of the military in disaster relief. It was noted that national and multilateral military capabilities should be engaged in disaster relief operations according to the concrete circumstances and the regulations in each country, in a transparent manner, but only upon the request of the country suffering damage. Also, some delegates were of the view that since a focus of the ARF is on confidence building measures among the military, issues of disaster relief cooperation should contribute to enhancing contacts among ARF participants, including military-to-military, and complement rather than duplicate other agencies' activities and avoid projects that put heavy financial or organizational burdens on ARF participants. Nevertheless, the Meeting discussed suggestions to explore ways to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation in disaster relief involving the military on a voluntary basis.
VI. Prospects for Further International Cooperation and Ongoing Local Initiatives by NDCP
In this area (Duque: 1999), there are a number of areas which offer good prospects for international cooperation in disaster reduction:
1) Strengthening collapsed building rescue capabilities. This specific area of disaster management is a priority area of the Philippines because of its high exposure to earthquake risks. While a Philippine task force trained and equipped for collapsed building rescue currently exists, its capabilities need to be strengthened and broadened in terms of advanced specialized training, equipage and more exposure to varied real-life rescue operations.
2) Developing a national center for disaster research and training: In the light of the frequency, variety and severity of disasters in the Philippines, the government has seen the need for a specialized technical center for training and research in various aspects of disaster management. This center can specialize in those areas of concern to the Philippines and may be linked with other similar centers abroad.
3) Mobilizing information technologies for disaster management: A broad class of information technologies such as geographic information systems, database management systems and other rapid analysis and presentation systems are currently available and useful for disaster management. The hardware, software and model uses of such technologies that can be made available to Philippine disaster management. organizations will provide a tremendous boost its disaster preparedness and disaster reduction endeavors.
4) Systematic disaster capabilities planning: Current knowledge about the nature of disaster risks in various communities and areas of the Philippine could be matched by a set of appropriate disaster management capabilities that may need to be developed in those areas or communities. This could serve as the basis for upgrading current disaster preparedness plans. Such a systematic effort could be undertaken with international cooperations and a special support program so that a better matching of risks and capabilities is achieved.
On the other hand, the corporate sector (Lawenko:1997) in the Philippines presents an excellent case of networking and partnerships to deal with disasters. In the Philippines, the corporate sector significantly contributes to development work as an expression of what is commonly termed as Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). Disaster response has traditionally been one of the important CSR themes. However, in the past few years, corporate philanthropy has evolved into unique, effective partnerships and networks that emphasize on long-term strategies rather than on one-time input. One of the significant developments has been the emergence of the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR). The network was formed in 1990 as a loose alliance of business organizations who responded to the needs of the victims of Baguio earthquake. Organizations like the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) played an instrumental role in its formation. CNDR is a voluntary alliance of private corporations, business associations and corporate foundations operating in the Philippines bound by a common interest of disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Uniqueness of the network lies in the pioneering role it has taken to propagate mitigation (long-term) strategies rather than just immediate relief (short-term).
In the advent of a regional catastrophe just like the fatal natural disaster of December 26, 2004 which triggered the South Asian Tsunami causing thousands of death tolls and millions of homeless families across three continents and twelve countries. After eight hours of simultaneous earthquakes and tidal waves in Indian Ocean, affected countries have combated another problem – the waves of diseases. In its aftermath, the relief effort has become global and vast, thus the worst hit countries are mostly poor and shaken up by political landscapes like Aceh (closest to the epicenter) of Indonesia. According to Carter (1991), when a country is struck by disaster there is usually widespread international reaction to offer assistance. This certainly applies when the stricken country is in developing category and therefore has limited capability for response and recovery.
In 6 January 2005, President Yudyohono of Indonesia had hosted an emergency tsunami summit, organized by the 10-member states of ASEAN and more than 20 heads of state, including Premier Wen of China, and representatives of international organizations convened in Jakarta. Thus, Japan has raised pledge from $30 million to $500 million and China has given a pledge of $60 million.
Hence, some scientific communities are convinced that what may have become the problem was the slowness and failure to act during those times of uncertainty. Some scientists in Asia-Pacific have even doubted the role of Hawaii’s Pacific Tsunami Warning System to post advisory and warning in the pacific during disasters, which is only about 1,200 miles from the epicenter in Aceh. Because of this, the United Nations is expected to upgrade a sensing network in the Indian Ocean similar to the one in the Pacific.
After learning its lessons, in 16 May 2006 the Pacific Tsunami Center in Hawaii alerted 28 countries around the Pacific to participate in a drill called, “Exercise Pacific Wave” to test countries of the abilities to respond to a real emergency situation. Since the 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Tonga on 3 May 2006, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has experienced a spike in replies to invitations about the test that were sent out by a UN agency two months ago. The earthquake drills were simulated in Chile and Taiwan’s southern coast, and the fake tsunami warnings were issued to all countries, including the Philippines, in which Albay (having the Mt Mayon as a tourist destination) represented the country in the said simulation exercises. According to Filipino scientists, although it escaped the deadly 2004 tsunami that ravaged its neighbors, the Philippines should brace for killer waves because it lies in a geologically dangerous region and has a recent history of tsunami devastation (PHIVOLCS: 2006). Furthermore, Phivolcs which monitors volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunami, as what its resident scientists deem that it’s important always to be prepared and that people are not exposed to hazards of disastrous events. In fact, after learning the lessons of the sudden killer tsunami, many countries has forged agreements, scientific exchanges and cooperation, mounted multi-sectoral workshops and conferences, dole out aids and pledges.
Last May 25-26, 2006 The Cross-Cutting Capacity Development (3cd) Program of the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative (EMI) held a Map Viewer Users’ Training in collaboration with the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), and Metro Manila Developing Authority (MMDA) at the NDCP. These agencies have developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) database for the Internet Map Viewer using the results of the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS). The Map Viewer Users’ Training aims to increase the awareness and understanding of selected participants from Local Government Units (LGUs) and government agencies regarding disaster risk management in Metro Manila and to familiarize the participants with the use and application of the Map Viewer for their respective disaster risk reduction activities. Hence, the MMEIRS are now made accessible on the Internet to various stakeholders who are working towards a safer and disaster-resilient Metro Manila.
The Emergency Management Institute of the Philippines (EMIP), now renamed as Crisis Management Institute (CMI) of NDCP is also responsible for offering short courses like the following:
1) Basic Disaster Management Training Course - The Basic Disaster Management Training Course provides background on disasters, linking disasters with development, covering pre-disaster (mitigation, preparedness), actual disaster (response) and post-disaster (relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction). The training course includes lectures, case studies and exercises to enhance awareness on the key concepts and principles on various aspects of disaster management.
2) Advanced Disaster Management Training Course - The Advanced Disaster Management Training Course takes students forward from the Basic Disaster Management Training Course reviewing what has been taught before on the concepts and principles of all aspects of disaster management and seeks confirmation by student interaction. It is designed to primarily consider vulnerability, mitigation and preparedness measures as well as integrated planning on disaster management.
3) Seminar on Critical Infrastructure Security - This seminar is designed to equip mid-level executives in the public sector with the necessary tools in planning for the protection of critical infrastructures (CI). It forms part of an evolving process in developing an effective CI protection training program. This activity aims to assist agencies in developing their respective CI protection plans.
4) Seminar on Weapons of Mass Destruction - This seminar seeks to enhance awareness on threats involving chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It also clarifies the role of each responding agency in WMD incident and highlights the capabilities of the Philippine government in responding to terrorist incidents involving chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.
5) Cyber Terrorism Executive Seminar - this seminar provides an overview of concepts and principles in cyber terrorism, general trends in international cyber terrorism and the threats posed by cyber terrorists groups. It also identifies historical trends in cyber terrorism and how law enforcement and private industry can prepare and respond to such threats. It also introduces tools and techniques in protecting digital infrastructure.
6) Crisis Management Seminar - The Crisis Management Seminar includes lectures, case studies and exercises to enhance awareness on the key concepts and principles on various aspects of crisis management. It aims to assist participants in enhancing their awareness and skills in the management of crisis; developing and/or strengthening their agencies’ crisis management plan; increasing their level of security awareness; and identifying and managing risks to critical infrastructure.
At the Third ARF Inter-sessional Meeting on Disaster relief, a number of participating countries have pledged for comprehensive presentations on their national experiences and national delivery mechanisms for dealing with natural and man-made disasters. Delegates reiterated the need to continue bilateral and multilateral cooperation in sharing information and accumulated experiences in Disaster Management, Preparedness and Relief among ARF participants. Special emphasis was placed on utilization of advanced technologies to forecast and prevent natural disasters.
For the Philippines, it is also open for possible international cooperation on disaster management. Filipinos have learned that disasters do happen, but their destructive force can be mitigated with good planning, prompt action, and constant preparation. International cooperation and support has helped improve Philippine response in all these fronts. It is hoped that such cooperation will continue to be satisfying to all its participants, and that all nations gain by helping each other (Duque: 1999).
Today, the National Disaster Coordinating Council has partnered with international organizations to mitigate natural disasters and has been lobbying to give teeth to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to strangthen the power of the said government agency through the DRM bill. It could not be denied though, that Philippines has been battling supertyphoons, floods, el nino, and unusual "hurricane". The recent floods caused by tropical storm Ondoy (international name Ketsana)has caused floods, deaths and damages in Metro Manila and nearby areas, proved that issues on climate change must also be given priority for legislation.
In global terms, unless disaster can be mitigated and managed to the optimum extent possible, it will have a dominating effect on the future (Carter: 1991). The world is already facing a range of environmental and subsistence crises. Disaster mitigation should be regarded as an important tool in successfully coping with the crises.
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