Emergency preparedness and response is a highly nuanced and complex process, requiring coordination between many important groups when disaster strikes. Governments are looked to for rapid response and are required to mobilize quickly and efficiently. Effective preparation and response requires a complex architecture, including command, operations, planning, logistics, finance and administration, if aid is to be reach those affected in a timely and organized fashion.
Myanmar is highly susceptible to natural disasters and ranks second out of 187 countries in the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index. Prolonged conflict fuelled by ethnic tensions has exacerbated Myanmar’s vulnerability to natural disasters, so much so that the Government of Myanmar has placed emergency response and disaster preparedness at the top of its priority list.
Long-term, the Government of Myanmar is seeking to take ultimate responsibility for planning and implementation of emergency preparedness and response activities without the need for assistance from the international community. This ambition also includes ensuring the Government has sufficient logistics capacity to mobilise resources to respond to disasters and provide relief assistance in an effective and timely manner.
In pursuit of this objective, since 2014 the World Food Programme (WFP) has partnered with various government agencies to create a robust system for emergencies in Myanmar and collectively design and implement emergency preparedness and response strategies and action plans.
WFP in Myanmar also provides administrative and logistics support to its donor, the United States Forest Service for the rollout of a Disaster Management System in Myanmar.
UN Volunteer Makato Sasakawa was placed with WFP in Myanmar to help build local capacity and support the rollout of the disaster management system.
I was able to combine my interactions with local people and beneficiaries and my past professional experience to observe the operations and make recommendations for improvements. I was very satisfied with my assignment and my ability to make a tangible contribution to EPR capacity in Myanmar. --Makato Sasakawa, UN Volunteer Supply Chain Officer
A cornerstone of the overall emergency preparedness and response, the disaster management system is a standardized system enabling effective and efficient national disaster management. The system integrates a combination of facility, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications to operate within a common organisational structure.
As UN Volunteer Supply Chain Officer, Makato provided vital support to the design and roll out of the disaster management system. Engaged to help manage the project, he was involved with conducting searches for and screening of qualified professional translators, graphic designers through the UN network as well as working with local project staff and experts to control translation and preparation for EPR and DMS workshops and meetings.
Makato supported a four-day workshop on emergency preparedness and response for the Myanmar Red Cross society, a one-day workshop for the Government of Myanmar and a three-day translation verification meeting with the Myanmar Firefighter Veterans Association national staff. In the first phase of the project, these workshops saw over 138 participants from Government, NGO and humanitarian community organizations.
Makato volunteered in support of Sustainable Development Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and SDG 10 - Reduced inequalities.
This article was prepared with the kind support of Online Volunteer Helen Maccan.