Hari Kesedaran Bencana 2011 (Disaster Awareness Day 2011) was held for the first time in Malaysia to raise public awareness on disaster risks as well as promote commitment among country leaders, decision makers and local authorities towards government efforts in disaster management and disaster risk reduction (DRR). The programme, themed as “Enhance National Resilience through Disaster Risk Reduction”, was organised by the National Security Council (MKN) with cooperation of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Housing and Local Government Malaysia as well as support of United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and ASEAN Secretariat. It was held on 18-19 February 2011 at Melaka International Trade Centre. Several activities were carried out during the event, including:
- Launching of national level campaign on ‘One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals’ and ‘Making Cities Resilient – My City is Getting Ready’;
- ASEAN Knowledge Sharing Workshop on Mainstreaming DRR in Education;
- National Seminar on Disaster Management and Cities, Hospitals and Schools Safe from Disasters; and
- 1Malaysia Exhibition on DRR.
More than 500 participants, mainly from relevant government agencies and state and local authorities attended the program. In addition of the opening and closing plenary sessions, four parallel sessions were organised during the two days, covering Roles of Local Authorities in DRR, ASEAN Knowledge Sharing Workshop on Mainstreaming DRR in Education, Hospitals Safe from Disasters, and National Mechanism on Disaster Management. Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Institute (SEADPRI-UKM) supported MKN in several roles, including moderating the opening plenary session, rapporteuring the programmes and drafting of declaration. The programme was closed by the Deputy Prime Minister, Y.A.B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Mohd Yassin, who announced the nomination of Kuala Lumpur City, Melaka and Putrajaya as the Role Models with regard to the country participation in the “Resilient Cities: My City is Getting Ready” as well as YAB Chief Minister of Melaka as the Champion of this campaign. With our participation in the international campaign, the Deputy Prime Minister hoped that other City Mayors and administrators of local governments across the country will be encouraged to learn from the good practice of the Role Model cities.
As a result of the programme, the “Melaka Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Malaysia 2011” was adopted by the participants. The Declaration calls upon national, state and local stakeholders to advocate lead and champion actions on national mechanism for disaster management, role of local authorities for DRR, mainstreaming of DRR in education and keeping schools and hospitals safe from disasters. While reaffirming the country’s commitments towards international and regional activities, the need to establish a national platform and comprehensive legal framework for disaster management in Malaysia is underlined. Integration of climate change adaptation, including in implementing the National Policy on Climate Change, is recognised in order to address changing nature of disaster risk brought about by climate variability and change. While being proud to have served MKN in drafting the Melaka Declaration, SEADPRI-UKM will continuously support MKN and other government agencies in the implementation of the declaration as well as state and local authorities in keeping our cities safe from disasters. (TCT/seadpri)