19 February 2020
As Myanmar is very much vulnerable to natural disasters including earthquake, cyclones, flood and fire, the country's climate is changing - temperatures are getting hotter and the monsoon season is getting shorter. This places communities, especially children, at increased risk from disasters. Building disaster resilience is not an option, but is critical for protecting investment and ensuring the sustainability of development. Preparing for disasters is the best way to ensure that children and their communities know how to stay safe in the time of a disaster.
As cities continue to grow, the exposure of people's assets to hazards and new forms of risks due to rapid population growth, combined with inappropriate land-use plans, failure to observe building standard regulations, inadequate living conditions of the urban poor, poor sanitary conditions, etc. create daily risks on a small scale.
Therefore to understand more about the preventive measures taken by the government for natural disaster such as earthquake, Amyotha Hluttaw had a discussion about what are the preventive measures the government is carrying out and raising the question at the 15th regular session of Second Amyotha Hluttaw meeting which was held on 18th February, U Tun Tun Oo of Mandalay region constituency 2 said, “As Myanmar has several interpolate earthquake faults mainly in Sagaing region and Rakhine mountain range, it can be anytime when this natural disaster can hit us, and our country is also known as one of the most natural disasters exposed nation in the world. This is all the results of excessive use of drinking water and extracting natural gas from underneath the ground. According to the report by the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, there were a total of more than 150 earthquakes occurred in Myanmar and more than 140 in the year 2019 alone. Due to the frequent recurrence of the earthquake, the public are worried seeing most of the old cultural and religious buildings including public use bridges and other public buildings are decaying which make them vulnerable to natural disaster. Therefore on behalf of the public I would like to know, what are the preventive measures the government is taking to reduce the damage which earthquake may bring to the least?”.
In response to the question raised by U Tun Tun Oo, U Soe Aung, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said, “Under the guidance of Vice President Henry Van Thio, we have formed National Disaster Management Committee where several Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of both regions and states are the members of the committee along with other officials. As Hluttaw representative has already mentioned, we cannot predict the earthquake. It is clear that the number of earthquakes occurring is quite frequent in the last few years. Therefore with the aim to prevent the people and damage of pagodas including other buildings, we are collaborating with the government of Japan especially in protecting pagodas in Bagan from earthquake. At the same time, the students are also given earthquake related lessons in the class. With the collaboration of several organizations we have been working on spreading the awareness on how to protect ourselves from the danger of earthquake under the guidance of National Disaster Management Committee.”
Sagaing earthquake fault is the most threatening one in the country as this fault is formed reaching to the southern part of Myanmar. For the last couples of centuries there is a record of more than one thousand persons who lost their lives due to earthquake in Myanmar. The loss of lives has been quite less due to most of the people don’t live in high storey building when a strong magnitude earthquake hit Myanmar according to Myanmar Earthquake Committee.
Photo Credit - Amyotha Hluttaw