Malaysia is not considered as a country that prone to disaster occurrence. We therefore do not normally aware about disaster be it natural or man-made. The most disastrous events in our minds are probably flood or haze or may be the 2004 tsunami. Because we do not encounter severe disaster, does it mean that we should not care more? There is a lot Malaysian can learn from our Asian neighbors, who unfortunately constantly facing all kinds of disasters. Realizing the importance of a proper management system during disaster events, many Asian countries have now joined effort to deal with major disaster occurrences and hence the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre was formed.
The Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), United Nations Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and the governments of Indonesia and Japan organized the Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction (ACDR2008), which was held on 12-14 November 2008 at Bali, Indonesia to mark the 10th anniversary establishment of the ADRC. The main objectives of the ACDR2008 were to follow up on the progress made towards the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) on disaster reduction management and to identify the gaps and challenges in disaster reduction in the Asian Region apart from providing opportunity for members to discuss future activities of the ADRC.
The ACDR 2008 conference delegates have presented four major challenges that need to be addressed in disaster risk reduction activities. These are as follows:-
- A need for integrating disaster risk reduction into sustainable development agenda and strategies.
- The importance of translating political commitment into action for effective mainstreaming disaster risk reduction
- Public-private partnership as an essential element of disaster risk reduction
- The role and accessibility of advanced science and technology and knowledge management resources as effective tools for disaster risk reduction
These challenges are certainly relevant to Malaysia taking into consideration that we have yet to develop a comprehensive management system for disaster risk reduction in this country. The Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Institute of UKM (SEADPRI) and the National Security Council of Malaysia, together with several other government departments are now working together to create a more efficient system for the management of disaster event and towards disaster risk reduction. When a disaster does strike, it is better to be ready than to have regrets later.