Kerajaan Switzerland telah berjanji untuk memberikan bantuan kewangan untuk bantuan bencana dan ketahanan di seluruh Asia. Negara-negara Asia Tenggara akan mendapat manfaat daripada komitmen untuk meningkatkan sistem amaran awal yang menyelamatkan nyawa.
oleh John Pennington
Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic has proved difficult all over the world, but in Southeast Asia, governments have faced the additional challenge of managing the impacts of natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis at the same time.
Some more welcome assistance in that regard is on its way thanks to a grant of $US300,000 from the government of Switzerland, made available to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness.
Despite their potential for widespread destruction, some elements of extreme weather systems are predictable, such as their course and strength. That makes early warning systems (EWS) a crucial part of disaster relief efforts. For example, indications of where storms will hit allow officials to move people away from at-risk areas before weather systems arrive. They can ready shelters in other areas which they are confident will not suffer as much.
While it costs money to research, develop and refine EWS, the benefits are potentially enormous. One study dikira that they can save three times the money they cost to implement in the case of forecasting hurricanes, four times as much when it comes to tornadoes and 500 times as much in areas prone to floods.
“Multi-hazard early warning systems are a public good and continuous investments to ensure the long-term sustainability of these systems are essential in overcoming many transboundary challenges in Asia and the Pacific," menjelaskan Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN ESCAP Executive Secretary.
“The Trust Fund has helped strengthen institutional capacity and enhanced understanding by tailoring products that fit regional, subregional and country contexts,"Tambahnya.
Any help is welcome for a region prone to natural disasters
While battling the coronavirus pandemic, Southeast Asia has been hit by several natural disasters which have complicated attempts to control the spread of COVID-19 and caused significant physical damage and loss of life.
Dalam bulan May, Typhoon Vongfong made landfall in the Philippines, killing five people and causing damage worth US$31.1 million. Tak lama selepas itu, Cyclone Amphan terancam Rohingya refugees close to the Myanmar border, damaging shelters and worsening living conditions.
Awal bulan ini, yang gempa bumi in the Philippines killed one person and damaged two houses which were being used as coronavirus quarantine areas. sekarang, the country is in the midst of its typhoon season while COVID-19 cases rise, highlighting that although fighting the pandemic is vital, governments have to be ready to combat other disasters at the same time.
The latest UN ESCAP funding will go towards developing standard operating procedures for multi-hazard warning in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand dan Vietnam. Helene Bulldinger Artieda, Ambassador of Switzerland, mengulas, “Our vision is to expand the experiences of this pragmatic, result-oriented work to other beneficiary countries across the region.
“Switzerland is keen to join partners and support ESCAP’s efforts in Disaster Risk Reduction by contributing to the Trust Fund towards strengthening people-centred early warning systems and disaster resilience in high-risk, low capacity countries,"Tambahnya.
The importance of collaboration when it comes to natural disasters
Like the pandemic, natural disasters do not impact one country at a time. ESCAP is committed to providing assistance across the whole region, recognising that, “these disasters strike without discrimination, but inflict the greatest damage in the poorest communities, including minority groups, people in remote areas and those on the margins of the region’s rapidly expanding cities.”
The Trust Fund was established dalam 2005—following the Indian Ocean tsunami—to design and implement EWS, also allowing countries to share data, resources and expertise. It has since supported 29 projects with $US15.5 million, directly benefitting 19 countries and saving countless lives.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, collaboration between nations has been stressed berkali-kali sebagai sangat penting untuk menjadikan ekonomi dan industri bergerak ke arah yang betul lagi. Dari berkongsi maklumat mengenai sifat virus kepada pasukan dari seluruh dunia yang bekerjasama hingga mengembangkan vaksin, prinsip yang sama berlaku untuk ketahanan bencana. Kumpulan Wang Amanah adalah contoh utama menerapkan konsep ini dan membantu menjadikan wilayah ini sebagai tempat yang lebih selamat.
Lagipun, negara tidak boleh dan tidak diharapkan untuk menangani musibah bencana alam sahaja. Tidak ada ekonomi yang cukup kukuh, terutamanya dengan dunia dalam keadaan pandemi global, untuk menangani. Tidak dapat tidak, yang paling teruk adalah yang paling menderita tetapi seperti yang dinyatakan oleh Alisjahbana: "Jika kita ingin memenuhi tujuan untuk tidak meninggalkan siapa pun, kita perlu bekerjasama. "