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World Vision Hosts International Relief Conference (5/18/10)

World Vision Taiwan hosts “International Conference on Emergency Response and Disaster Management” on May 18-19 
 
“Today, disasters have become global and are more serious than ever. Governments and NGOs should work together during emergency relief responses,” said The Premier of Executive Yuan, Mr. Wu Den-yih during his opening remarks for the “International Conference on Emergency Response and Disaster Management,” which commenced this morning
 
Premier Wu continued to share that this international conference was very important and meaningful for Taiwan.

“Taiwan is at high risk for disasters with typhoons, floods and earthquakes frequently impacting the country. Especially after the 921 earthquake, the land in affected areas has become soft and easily lead to further damage with disasters strike. Disaster prevention and preparedness are very important. Today, we are using technology to forecast disasters and the government has developed an SOP for early warning, evacuation and relief operations. The Government will provide full information on disasters and raise public awareness,” said Premier Wu
“World Vision Taiwan has worked on relief operation for decades. The participants today also have many experiences in the field of relief operation. I believe through our sharing, we can arrive at useful recommendations, “said Premier Wu.
Following Premier Wu’s remarks, Ms. Wang Yi-Wen, Division Director of Office of Disaster Management for Executive Yuan presented concrete methods to improve governments’ capacity for disaster preparedness and relief response. 
 
“After Typhoon Morakot, the government has revised the Disaster Prevention and Response Act. Government will work to establish mapping of high risk locations and strengthen our monitoring systems. Through effective monitoring, we can start evacuation earlier and reduce life loss. We will also establish a platform on inter-agency and NGO collaboration,” said Ms Wang.
 
In closing, she mentioned that building community resilience is an important trend to reduce disaster risk. 
 
During the afternoon session, Richard Rumsey, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction & Community Resilience for World Vision International elaborated on the meaning of community resilience.
 
“Even though we have improving forecasting technology, disasters still cannot always be predicted. We need to help communities build resilience.”
 
Community resilience includes many components, such as early warning, disaster preparedness, response planning, evacuation mechanism and planning, school based disaster education programs, developing interagency collaboration and coordination, building social financial and institutional safety nets, and strengthening livelihood security. 
 
Richard Rumsey emphasized that the aim of building community resilience is to help community strengthen their ability to withstand the impacts of a natural disaster.  
 
In a separate interview, Ms. Agnes Palacio, National Disaster Response Advisor of UNDP-Philippines, Country Coordinator for OCHA in Philippines, said that challenges remain for governments and NGO’s to ensure effective emergency responses during crisis. 
 
“Governments themselves need to be more responsive and resilient, while also allowing INGO’s greater space to operate and partner with one another,” said Ms. Palacio.  
 
Nearly 200 professional workers and researchers in the field of emergency relief or disaster prevention from NGOs across Taiwan are gathering at this two day conference to share policy strategies, cutting-edge ideas, experience and opinions on emergency relief and disaster prevention. 

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