All India Disaster Mitigation
Institute
 
411, Sakar Five, Near Old Natraj Cinema,
Mithakhadi Railway Crossing, Ashram Road,
Ahmedabad – 380009,
Gujarat, India

Tel / Fax:+91 79 26582962
E-mail: bestteam@aidmi.org
What's New

School Safety from Plan to Implementation of School Disaster Management Plan

Participants were seen with high enthusiasm and interest to carry forward the learning from the two day training on “School Safety” at Sishu NirmalaBhawan, Guwahati from June 12-13, 2017, organized by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and facilitated by AIDMI. As schools are critical infrastructure entrusted with the responsibility of creating citizens of tomorrow.

 


A safe and secure environment is a prerequisite for effective teaching and learning.

Participants showed a keen interest in the entire training and came out with various ways and methods which enhanced School Safety and the development of the School Disaster Management Plan. Each participant actively carried out the tasks assigned during the training period.

While Responding to Mora Cyclone

Responding to Cyclone Mora's Impact
 
As Cyclone Mora made landfall at Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh, I could think of no better book than "People, Aid and Institutions in Socio-economic Recovery Facing Fragilities". As this cyclone ravages through the lives and livelihoods of the fragile communities living on the borders between Bangladesh and Myanmar, this book offers many valuable lessons to plan an effective recovery. The detailed and rigorous research in this recently published book is o

 


f immediate value to those who fund, receive, deliver, and who may oppose relief.

Although the book is not about Bangladesh or Myanmar and does not exclusively focus on cyclone relief, the ethnographic case studies presented in it offer useful lenses to view the day-to-day process of relief and recovery in fragile communities suffering sudden and additional loss or damage.  Cyclone Mora also presents an opportunity to humanitarian actors around the world to make the 'Grand Bargain' of the latest World Humanitarian Summit a reality. This book can provide a robust roadmap for doing so. The response to Cyclone Mora related loss and damage has to be more embedded, offered with more humility and pursued  in the development direction desired by the local citizens. This response also needs to be pushed away from universal standards and standard operational procedures to address case sensitive decisions that are people centric.

Cyclone Mora offers an opportunity to reduce risk and build prosperity among the affected communities and citizens. For this purpose, it is imperative to put knowledge into action especially in humanitarian action, otherwise its value stands to be diminished.


Synergy for Sustainable Cox Bazar

How best to rebuild Cox's Bazar, as Cyclone Mora ravages through this small the town? G.K. Bhat of TARU offers a first step in his recent book "Road to Resilience: Synergy for Sustainable Cities". Let me pick up four most important actions for those who are planning humanitarian response: one, reduce per capita water demand; two, leap to renewable energy; three invent low carbon mobility; and four reduce quantity of solid waste that needs management.

 


A town that addresses all these concerns will be a big leap towards the first resilient city of Bangladesh. Government of India will be supporting its neighbour in its hour of crisis by providing sustainable inputs in this direction.

 

Implementing Cancun Agenda in South Asia

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 157, May 2017:

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the ‘Implementing Cancun Agenda in South Asia' and highlights the important concerns which the Global Platform should address to achieve resilience outcomes. The chief themes highlighted in this issue include the need for good subnational plans, a renewed focus on cities in terms of resilient housing and extreme weather events, leveraging of technology to help the marginalized and use and challenges of localized planning in achie

 


ving the mandate of SFDRR.

As the 6th edition of this important platform, GPDRR 2017 can pave the way for a stronger and more sustainable movement to reduce disaster risk worldwide that leads to increased responsibility for strengthening resilience to disasters.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Implementing Cancun Agenda in South Asia; (ii) DRR Roadmap of Bihar: Global Learning Opportunities; (iii) LOCALISATION: Where Are the National Actors in the Debate?; (iv) Planning and Recovery in Nepal: Key Local Concepts; (v) Drought Policy in India: An Alternative Paradigm; (vi) Risk Reduction in Informal Housing within Cities through Digital Tools; (vii) Crop Insurance for Better Uptake; (viii) Increasing Resilience through Build Back Better; (ix) Urban Disaster Risk Reduction in Humanitarian Response; (x) Why there can be no Universal Minimum Standards for Cities!; (xi) Heatwave in Jabalpur: A View; and (xii) The Role of Architects in Building Urban Disaster Resilience.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Vyas Ji, Vice Chairman, BSDMA, Bihar; Koenraad Van Brabant, Independent consultant, Switzerland; Prof. Dr. Govind, Member, National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal; Aviral Pandey, Assistant Professor, A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna, Bihar, India; Marco Ferrario and Swati Janu, mHS City Lab, New Delhi; Dr. David M. Dror, Chairman, Micro Insurance Academy and Exec Chairman, Social Re Consultancy; Gerald Potutan, International Recovery Platform Secretariat; Bhaswar Banerjee, Oxfam India; Joohi Haleem, Humanitarian and development practitioner specialized in livelihoods and urban development, Brussels; Sangita Goswami; and David Smith, Architect, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway.

Theme: GPDRR, Disaster Risk Reduction, Heatwave, Urban Development, Risk Resilience.

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Local Capacity Building for Safer Schools

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 156, May 2017:

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net is taken up the most important theme that needs wider discussion and support at Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held at Cancun, Maxico.' Building Capacity for School Safety: ASDMA's School Safety Initiative'.

 


Taking note of the need to enhance school safety in the state, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has launched a massive capacity building initiative aimed to train the teachers of selected schools across the state on how to manage the risks in their respective schools. This issue contains an overview of this initiative, its main achievements and the lessons learnt.

By showcasing the success of capacity building school safety initiatives in Assam, this issue puts forward a strong case for replicating and upscaling these interventions in others parts of India as well.

Assam is one of the most hazard prone states in the Indian union which is exposed to the risks of large earthquakes (as it lies in seismic zone V), incessant flooding and concomitant erosion, landslides and storms. Children bear a disproportionate burden of the adverse impacts of these hazards when they materialize into disasters. For instance, during the Assam floods of 2012, more than half the affected people were children. The detrimental impacts of such disasters are reflected in the dwindling trend noticed in several child welfare indices. In the exigent times brought on by disasters, children's access to quality education is severely inhibited. This underscores the need for pursuing the ideal of school safety in the state.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Capacity Building for Safer Schools; (ii) Promoting Disaster Resilient Education in Assam; (iii) School Safety Efforts in Assam; (iv) Quotes from Participants; (v) DRR Education to make Hospitals Safer; (vi) Training and Capacity Building for Nurses for Hospital Preparedness and Resilience to Disaster and Climate Risks in Education.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Surgeon Commander Chandrasekhar Krishnamurti, M.D., Associate Professor, NRI Institute of Medical Sciences, Visakhapatnam; and Mrs. Sanghamitra Sawant, Assistant Secretary General, Trained Nurses Association of India.

Theme: Capacity Building, Safer Schools, Disaster Risk Reduction, Urban Development, Disaster and Climate Resilience.

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Enabling Communities to Manage Risks: Community Based Disaster Preparedness

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 155, April 2017:

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the most important theme of Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held at Cancun, Maxico. Community Based Disaster Preparedness: Enabling Communities to Manage Risks '. It primarily focuses on how CBDP can empower communities to manage their risks through 'locally owned' and 'locally appropriate' approaches.

 


The key lessons from ASDMA's recently finished capacity building project on CBDP have also been highlighted in this issue. The rationale behind promoting CBDP is that communities are the first responders of a disaster, therefore they should be given the necessary training to mitigate and manage their risks.

Moreover, given the dynamic nature of risk, CBDP makes for a more relevant, inclusive, bottom-up and effective approach to disaster risk reduction. This issue is also a compendium of the emerging areas like climate risks and how they impact communities at the local level. Capacity building for CBDP can also be viewed as the democratization DRR by enabling communities to build their own resilience using approaches best suited to them.

The impacts of disasters can be broadly categorized as direct and as indirect. Direct impacts refer to quantifiable losses such as the number of people killed and the damage to buildings, infrastructure and natural resources. Indirect impacts, in contrast, include declines in output or revenue, and impact on wellbeing of people, and generally arise from disruptions to the flow of goods and services as a result of a disaster. The contextual and localized nature of indirect impacts make it difficult to control them. One possible way of controlling them is through Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP).

This issue's contents includes: (i) Mainstreaming Communities in DRR; (ii) Community Based Disaster Preparedness; (iii) Corporate Social Responsibility as a Response to Disaster Risk Management; (iv) Capacity Development and Context of DRR-CCA in Assam; (v) Sustainable Urban Development through Integrating Disaster and Climate Resilience in Assam; (vi) ISET: Initiatives in Community Based Disaster Risk Management in India (vii) Building Back Better – Case of 2001 Gujarat Earthquake and Integrating Resilience to Health Sector. 

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Dr. Ramesh Vaghani, Head, and Mrs. Kruti Mehta, Faculty, Department of Social Work, Saurashtra University; Kishore Dutta, ASDMA; Abrina Williams, Social Media Correspondent, ISET–International, USA; and Chirag Bhatt, Bhuj Area Development Authority (BHADA), Gujarat.

Theme: Community Based Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation, Urban Development, Health

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Roundtable Discussion on Scaling up Renewable Energy Finance in India

Mihir R. Bhatt participated in the Roundtable Discussion “Scaling up Renewable Energy Finance in India”, May 17, 2017, Delhi, to highlight the need to better link the green bonds with green banking and green banking with green growth of India. He drew from over six local consultations on NDCimplementationacross India conducted by CDKN in costal and Himalaya areas; urban,smart, and sectorial planning at state level; and with livelihoods, women’s income private sector groups. He pointed out that green finance needs green growth;

 


that “green knowledge” and in yet to be captured in India and “green capabilities” are much in demand at sub-national level. There is a growing need for international cooperation to design and develop green finance in India so as what growsin India is in harmony with worldwide green finance initiatives.

Entwine Global Leaders visit to the Ahmedabad city

May 16, 2017, Ahmedabad. Entwine Global Leaders visit to the city was first of its kind to promote collaborative learning across 12 countries from Americas, Africa and Asia. The learning focused around emergency response, safer schools, risk transfer, and integration of Disaster Risk Reduction with Climate Change Adaptation in the development process.

 


“AIDMI is at the forefront of new ideas,” said Josh from Israel.  Lateral learning products and tools are planned to enhance risk reduction performance on the ground. A three year plan is being made for 2017 to 2020 to put people in the center of disaster and climate risk reduction.

Karimgang Emergency Management Exercise (KEMEx) 2017

A five day long Emergency Management Exercise (KEMEx) was organised at Karimganj by DDMA from April 24 – 28. 2017. AIDMI invited to join the EMEx to facilitate “School Disaster Preparedness” track and supporting the conduct of table top exeraise and field drill..

 



Are We Building Back Better

Share your comments and feedback on the South Asia Disaster Report 2016

Coinciding with the Nepal earthquake of 2015, and in appreciation of the heroic efforts to rebuild Nepal, Duryog Nivaran together with Practical Action Nepal, launches the South Asia Disaster Report 2016 (SADR 2016) today, the 26th of April.

 


This edition of the SADR concentrates on Build Back Better (BBB) and continues a Duryog Nivaran tradition of promoting new and alternative disaster management measures to improve resilience of vulnerable communities. It speaks of intiatives by citizens, the state and development practitioners in South Asian countries who have led the way in improving actions for rehabilitation and recovery in South Asia.

In an effort to improve the report and its recommendations for use throughout South Asia, we appeal to you, to provide your comments and feedback.

The full report can be found here and separate links to each chapter can be found here. Bangladesh | India | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka | Cultural Heritage 

Comments will be accepted until the 26th of June – please email your comments to: secretariat@duryognivaran.org. 

 
Duryog Nivaran thanks Christian Aid for their support towards making this publication a possibility.

Building Resilience through Education

The All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI)–Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) Centre for Disaster Risk Management organised a Panel Discussion on “Building Resilience through Education’. The discussion was held on February 14, 2017 in Ahmedabad. The discussion was led by Dr.

 


Ian Davis, Visiting Professor in Disaster Risk Management in Copenhagen, Lund, Kyoto and Oxford Brookes Universities; M.P. Mehta, DPEO of Government of Gujarat; and Mihir R. Bhatt of AIDMI.

The Education Department of Government of Gujarat over 200 teachers joined in findings ways to take up Safer Schools, Child Centred DRR, and Child Protection activities. Understanding disaster risk and investing (in children) in disaster risk reduction for resilience came up.


Towards Implementation of NDCs: Achievements and Opportunities

The State Climate Change Centre of Government of Uttarakhand and Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) convened a Round Table on “Towards Implementation of NDCs: Achievements and Opportunities” in Dehradun, Uttarakhand on February 2, 2017.

The round table aimed at making Uttarakhand lead in taking local climate compatible measures in India.

 


The round table built on the results of November 23, 2016, workshop on “Operationalising the Uttarakhand Action Plan on Climate Change: Applying the Uttarakhand vulnerability and risk assessment to integrate climate change in state development planning”.

Over 43 participants representing from State and District Level Departments, think tanks, NGOs, INGOs and CSOs joined the round table to understand and apply the NDC utilisation guidelines developed by CDKN and RICARDO based on global experience of defining INDCs agreed in COP21 Paris.


Children, Schools and Safety: Building Resilience through Education

The All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI)–Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) Centre for Disaster Risk Management organised a Panel Discussion on “Children, Schools and Safety: Building Resilience through Education’. The discussion was held on January 28, 2017 in Ahmedabad.<

 


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The Education Department of Government of Gujarat was with us and over 150 teachers joined.  Over about 10 were facilitated for Head Teacher selection. Main focus of the event was on how CCDRR fits into National Disaster Management Plan of Government of Gujarat.  This is AIDMI focus on Safer Schools in 2017. AIDMI found in this programme that there is a need to put CCDRR in the context of sustainable development more directly.


Building Resilient Communities: Linking Climate Change and DRR in Action Plans

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 154, December 2016:

DRR or CCA: What matters in the end is resilient community. And that is what this issue aims at.

Disasters are often seen as extraordinary events that occur suddenly to cause widespread loss of life and property in the communities they strike.

 


However, there are underlying causes of vulnerability that keep on incrementally increasing the exposure of a community to a disaster in over time. Thus, resilience building in an exercise of systematically identifying and reducing these underlying causes of vulnerability to build resilient communities.

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the theme of ‘Building Resilient Communities: Linking Climate Change and DRR in Action Plans’ and highlights important areas for resilience building across different levels. Not only does this issue highlight the existing underlying causes of vulnerability but the emerging ones as well. For instance, climate change has had a profound impact on the exposure of communities to ‘climate induced disasters’. In this respect, this issue highlights the integration between adaptation to climate change and building resilience to disasters. 

This issue’s contents includes: (i) Training Needs Assessment for DRR and CCA; (ii) Climate Change and Child Rights: An Assessment; (iii) BRACED: Building Resilience in Myanmar; (iv) Rural Development: Multisector Engagement for Disaster Risk Reduction; (v) Linking State Climate Change Action Plans and SDMPs to Enhance Risk Reduction Implementation in India; (vi) Are we Building Back Better? Lessons from South Asia and (vii) Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation to Climate Change.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Dr. K R Sastry, Formerly, Professor, Disaster Management, Dr. MCR HRD Institute, Hyderabad; Dr. Vijai Pratap Singh, Founder, Kalhans Education and Environmental Development Foundation, Basti, Uttar Pradesh; Jeremy Stone, BRACED, Alliance Coordinator, Plan International, Myanmar; Patrick Jasper, Asst. General Manager National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development; and Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, Regional Programme Manager, Action on Climate Today, New Delhi.

Theme: Building Resilience, Climate Change Adaptation, Child Rights, Disaster Risk Reduction.

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From Intent to Action: Commitments of AMCDRR 2016

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 153, November 2016:

The recently concluded 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) at New Delhi, India has provided a clear path for building resilience at the global, regional and local levels. The first important conference to be held after the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), AMCDRR 2016 also led to the finalization of the 'New Delhi Declaration' and the 'Asian Regional Plan (ARP) for Implementation of the Sendai Framework'. While the 'New Delh

 


i Declaration' is a political statement that spells out the commitment of the participating governments to reduce and manage risk in their respective countries, the ARP provides a roadmap of converting these commitments to results.

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the theme of 'From Intent to Action: Commitments of AMCDRR 2016'. The 2016 AMCDRR saw the participating governments take up commitments for achieving the targets and goals of SFDRR. This issue of Southasiadisasters.net discusses the possible ways, strategies and approaches that can help in fulfilling these commitments over the 15 year horizon of SFDRR.

This issue’s contents includes: (i) A Ten-Point Agenda for Disaster Risk Reduction; (ii) AIDMI at AMCDRR 2016; (iii) Gender Equality and Local Ownership in AMCDRR; (iv) Celebration of International Day for Disaster Reduction in Assam; (v) Highlights for Asian Ministers from Global Summit 2016; (vi) Children and Youth Commitments in DRR; (vii) Building Youth and Women’s Leadership in DRR; (ix) Education and Risk: Way Ahead; (x) Grand Bargain: What can make it more grand at local level?; (xi) Risk, Cities and Reportage: Agenda for Asia; and (xii) Youth for Resilient India.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Shaila Shahid, Gender and Water Alliance Bangladesh and Zakir Shahin, Krisoker Sor, Bangladesh; Alina O'Keeffe, Aid and International Development Forum, UK; Moa Herrgard, UN Major Group for Children and Youth, Sweden; Michael Mosselmans, Christian Aid; and Keya Acharya, Forum of Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI), Banglore, India.

Theme: AMCDRR, Children and Youth.

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Building Resilient Cities: Engaging DRR to an Urban World

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 152, November 2016:

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the theme of 'Building Resilient Cities'. It highlights the importance of bringing Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation to urban planning in order to create safer spaces for citizens.<

 


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The need for bringing DRR and CCA to urban planning is urgent in a world that is urbanizing rapidly, where disaster displacement risk and other calamities are driven by rapid and unplanned urbanisation. In this matter, India compromises to give especial attention to the future of its cities by promoting the construction of safe buildings and better land-use plans.

The issue also highlights the specific challenges urbanization faces when a disaster situation occurs like in the case of the earthquakes in Gujarat and Pakistan and the need to develop a better earthquake early warning system for the future. It also recognizes the important role of Communication Medias and NGO during a disaster. In the case of AIDMI it has to be mentioned it is a pioneer in developing better preparedness responses and long term solutions by utilising a holistic approach.

This issue’s contents includes: (i) Disaster Displacement in Cities: Agenda for Initiatives; (ii) Adapting to an Urban World: Strengthening Urban Food Security Analysis in Humanitarian Crises; (iii) Shelter Associates – Shelter, Risk and Agenda for Asia; (iv) Early Warning and Forecasting System for Earthquakes: An Insight; (v) Few Good Men and Women; (vi) Ten Years Ago and Now; (vii) Kutch and Aceh Recoveries: A View; and (ix) Children Demand for Safe School and Safe Education.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Atle Solberg, Head of Coordination Unit, Platform on Disaster Displacement, IEH Geneva, Switzerland; Marina Angeloni, Global Food Security Cluster Rome, Italy; Ross Plaster, Architect, Shelter Associates, UK; Sangeeta Baksi, Scientist, New Delhi  and Akarsh Mishra; Sandeep Shaligram, Consultant, Pune, India; Sarwar Bari, Pattan Development Organisation; and Dr. Marjaana Jauhola, Adjunct Professor, Academy of Finland Fellow, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Theme: Building Resilience, Early Warning, School Safety, Urban, Disaster Risk Reduction.

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FINAL Q&A: REFLECTIONS ON A MICRO-INSURANCE PROJECT

INTERVIEW WITH RONAK PATEL, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
“Our greatest achievement is breaking the myth of feasibility, once you break the myth that selling insurance to this target population is not viable, insurance companies are interested”.

IN ONCE SENTENCE CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR HIF-FUNDED PROJECT AIMED TO DO AND WHY IT IS INNOVATIVE?

The project aimed to measure the impact of disaster micro-insurance on informal businesse

 


s for local market recovery, livelihood recovery and to improve resilience after a disaster.

It is innovative for three reasons, design, delivery and purpose:

  • Design: It is designed around target populations. While most products are off-the-shelf products pre-designed by insurers, this product was designed around target populations by assessing different needs such as what the micro-insurance needed to cover and what target populations were able to afford.
  • Delivery: Most insurers have a product that they market and sell. This product is delivered with a partner-agent model in which community based organisations (CBOs) create a link between informal businesses and insurance companies who wouldn’t normally target this population either because they don’t see value in doing so or they don’t have the capacity to cover the time and effort it requires.  CBOs will not only explain and sell the insurance but may also help process claims. This model was necessary to make this project functional.
  • Purpose: it is intended to complement cash based programs that are meant to spur demand by focusing on the supply side of the equation to help the local businesses recover. This can mitigate the risk of inflation with cash based assistance.


INSURERS AND COMMUNITIES MUST HAVE A LOT OF TRUST IN THE CBOS, HOW DO THOSE RELATIONSHIP WORK?
Trust is key to ensuring these relationships are effective particularly between the CBOs and communities, because they are not used to having a product like this or find it difficult to understand how paying in such a small amount can give them such big benefits. Also, many of the populations we were working with had already been victims of a scam so using already existing CBOs that had built social capital through their other programs was essential to develop trust with the beneficiaries.

Developing trust between the CBOs and insurance companies took a lot of meetings and effort in order to help insurers understand that this target population is worth serving and can be a reliable client base.

The final element to build trust was to engage the state disaster management authorities to give the project weight and demonstrate that the state was supporting it. Initially they were involved as invited partners but now they are more engaged and demonstrating to the insurance companies that they are behind this product.

DO CBOS RECEIVE PAYMENT FOR THEIR ROLE?
No, right now they are doing it as part of their work and part of the grant is being used to fund this effort but if this project were to go to scale it would have to be built into the premium price of the insurance, which isn’t the case at the moment. The current cost is very low so we could add in a few rupees to each policy to ensure it is a financially viable product.

WERE THERE REGULATORY HURDLES TO OVERCOME?
No because there is nothing new about the product it’s just a smaller product for a different target population.

FROM A USER PERSPECTIVE, TALK US THROUGH HOW THIS PROCESS WORKS?
We began with focus group discussions with communities to assess their needs, disaster risks, expectations and what they could afford, the wealthier enterprises wanted a more expensive product that covered different types of risk but the insurance companies wanted something universal for a price that was agreeable to everyone.

Awareness was already raised through this formative research phase so we didn’t need to do much in terms of advertising. Then CBOs went out with a pamphlet to explain the product and got people to sign up and pay for annual cover, the CBOs hold all of the policies but we are making photocopies so that beneficiaries have their own copy. Later we asked beneficiaries if they still understood the policy and what it covered and there was positive feedback. The product doesn’t just cover business but homes and life insurance are also built into it. In terms of claims, beneficiaries have a phone number for the insurance company and the CBO can also make a call on their behalf. We haven’t tested it yet as there hasn’t been a significant disaster to activate it.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF SELLING ONE FIXED PRICE PRODUCT IN TERMS OF THE VARIABLE VALUE OF BUSINESSES?
The insurance companies wanted to keep it simple and only offer one product therefore you can only insure yourself up to a certain value, this means there are some businesses on the upper end that don’t cover all of their financial risk and some on the lower end that may have too much coverage, but this is the only way we could make it work.

WHAT WERE THE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS THAT SMALL BUSINESSES WANTED COVER FOR? DID THEY HAVE TO MEET A CRITERIA TO BE COVERED E.G. HAVE A PUCCA STRUCTURE?
We picked these areas because they are at high risk of flooding and cyclones which are extremely high cost disasters, some also wanted fire, burglary, theft etc. cover. One site was particularly challenging because the insurance company didn’t want to cover flooding because the risk would so high they thought it wouldn’t be financially viable, or mobile businesses because of the risk of fraud. We didn’t have these issues in the other sites, anyone could be covered, and in fact the insurance company in Puri has national links and are interested in the potential to scale this product on a national level.

HAS THERE BEEN ONE TYPE OF BUSINESS OWNER THAT HAS BEEN MORE ENGAGED THAN OTHERS?
Diverse businesses were engaged from the very beginning when we were designing the product and they became our champions by spreading the word.

IN WHAT WAYS DID BENEFICIARIES’ KNOWLEDGE GAP ON INSURANCE AFFECT THE PROJECT AND IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU ADDRESS THIS KNOWLEDGE GAP?
People struggled to understand how it worked, that is, how a small amount of money would cover them for a disaster, they were used to life insurance and other typical types of insurance but not this type of micro-insurance for their business. They were also worried it was a scam and this was overcome by the CBO’s explaining it not just at their businesses but in their communities and their homes. We think this is a great achievement, in some ways more so than the financial viability, because if people don’t know about or understand your product they won’t buy it.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN OUTCOMES?
Even without the impact data we have generated some useful knowledge. An insurance company in one area said that the risk of flooding was so high that they could never afford insurance. However, this project has proved that there can be a product that can support small businesses which may not cover all of their financial risk but will enable them to cope and be resilient without having to take out loans etc. so it is financially viable. The other cool thing is that this is a private sector product that insurance companies can make money on and it is a big market. This project also demonstrates that locally developed financial instruments from the bottom-up may be the most successful means to design products for this population.

IF SUCCESSFUL IN ENABLING RESILIENCE TO A DISASTER, HOW DO YOU FORESEE THIS PROJECT COULD BE SCALED UP? WHO WOULD NEED TO BE INVOLVED?
There are challenges to scaling this such as engaging insurance companies to invest in this market and ensuring that CBOs are present and have the capacity, both technically and in terms of man power, to engage communities.

In Haiti there was a similar project which collapsed due to a catastrophic disaster that wiped out the insurance pool, they realised that if they had to pay everybody then it wasn’t financially viable. We chose three different sites to mitigate this issue and demonstrate to insurance companies that if you spread out the risk then you still have a financially viable product. One problem is that we have a different insurance company in each site, ideally this would be the same company. We also need to ensure that we back stop risks by engaging reinsurance companies (companies that allow insurance companies to buy insurance on their insurance program), national governments or international bodies like the World Bank to be involved so that if there is a catastrophic disaster that can wipe out the whole pool, the insurance companies don’t go under.

Nationally there is good potential to scale, we just need an appropriate product through an insurer and to engage CBOs to facilitate it being rolled out.

TELL US MORE ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF DATA COLLECTION ON SUCH A LARGE SCALE?
As the demand survey highlighted, the majority of people wanted to sign up and it was very hard to explain to them and even the community based organization why we were doing a randomised control trial (RCT), people just didn’t understand it, eventually we had to tell them that we only had enough insurance for a certain number of beneficiaries and that if it worked the insurance company could expand this to everyone.

We have not yet done a post-disaster impact survey of the innovation and we will have to ensure that we can reach the entire study sample in a timely manner to ensure a snapshot of recovery.

An outstanding question highlighted in the literature review was related to risk taking behaviour, if someone was covered by insurance did this induce them to be less inclined to take risk reduction measures? This is another reason for the RCT trial; to assess not only the impact but whether there will be a difference in risk reduction efforts by those that would opt to purchase insurance.

IF SOMEONE WANTED TO CARRY OUT RESEARCH OR A PROJECT SIMILAR TO YOURS, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE?
Don’t underestimate the start-up time needed, it is far greater than you expect. You need to find a champion within the insurance companies to help get the right people to sign off the product and see the value in it.

WAS THERE ANYTHING UNEXPECTED THAT YOU LEARNT, OR A USE FOR YOUR PROJECT YOU DIDN’T EXPECT?
It was a surprise that insurance companies wouldn’t want to insure mobile businesses, but reinforced the idea that microfinance products are often hard adapt for the very poor and most vulnerable segments of society. I also hadn’t anticipated how engaged beneficiaries were and how vital they would be in championing the product.

DID YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF INNOVATION CHANGE OVER THE COURSE OF THE PROJECT?
Innovation to me was and ‘idea’ but the innovation that was really required was all the grunt work, that is grinding out the meetings between various stakeholders and finding champions and people that would think outside the box to help move the project forward.

ARE YOU PLANNING TO SOURCE FUNDING TO TAKE THIS PROJECT FURTHER? WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
We are in the process of seeking other funding from the Millenium Alliance but there is commitment from AIDMI and the insurance companies to do another round even if we don’t get the funding. We are able to forego certain expenses of our own at the moment to ensure that we can operate on a minimal budget temporarily; primarily this involves supporting the CBOs until we can get another round of funding.

The next step is designing questions for the impact survey e.g. how quickly do business and livelihoods recover, the impact on household coping etc. We plan to present our findings at the MunichRE micro-insurance conference in Peru in 2017.

We are also considering doing a tool-kit as a step by step guide to the product and how it works but not sure which audience we will target yet.

WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF WORKING WITH THE HIF? ARE THERE ANY AREAS IN WHICH WE COULD’VE PROVIDED FURTHER ASSISTANCE?
We had good interactions, always encouraging and very easy communication with the HIF team on small and large matters alike.


Towards Green Growth: Achievements and Opportunities

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) organised a National Round Table on “Towards Climate Compatible Green Growth Development: Achievements and Opportunities. The round table was held on Monday August 29, 2016 in New Delhi. This was as a follow up to the COP 21, Paris Agreement and India’s commitment towards green growth.

 


The main objective was to discuss possible actions to move Pre 2020 plans towards green growth and integrate them with the existing policy framework and development programmes.

Translating green growth commitments into policies, programmes and investment plans is key to fully operationalise and realise the set targets that lead to India’s economic growth. Thus, the round table, in line with India’s current need around broader climate narrative and international negotiation, discussed the achievements in moving towards green growth and enlist opportunities to move forward.

The Round Table also discussed national agenda of India; achievements so far; opportunities ahead and focused on cities, energy, forests and finance. Discussion on Robust mechanism for Implementation as well as Pre 2020 plans will come up in discussion.


Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Insurance for Informal Sector

Challenges are often accompanied by alternative opportunities that need exploration. This blog showcases the process oriented exploration of various alternatives which ultimately led to successful completion of a crucial objective in a pilot research project. Stanford University and AIDMI with support from HIF are experimenting with ways to enhance risk transfer options through insurance to small and informal businesses in urban areas as a way to improve local market recovery, sustain livelihoods and build resilience. Designing an affordable

 


and useful disaster insurance product and extending the product to eligible small businesses is aligned with the SFDRR priority two “Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience.” Though a product was developed after a number of formal and informal consultations with insurance companies, the insurance companies raised several points presented challenges to operationalizing an insurance product for small businesses. These include the high frequency and scale of flooding; the characteristics of informal businesses (mobile businesses, the lack of legal documents, proof of inventory, etc.), and misperceptions from insurance providers about the client group.

As the course of negotiations proceeded various alternatives were explored such as one company offering to cover all risks except floods which was not acceptable considering the need and demand. After repeated consultations and exploration of possible alternatives, a private insurer agreed to offer a full product to small business with Pucca (Bricks-Cement) structures. The project team initiated internal technical reviews and consultations to judge the relevance, validity and possible effectiveness of the proposal in the context of the project and it was finally decided to proceed with it since primary testing of this product may offer different perspectives and evidences which can be very useful in relation to the research hypothesis despite not covering more transient structures. This insurance product for Guwahati city in the state of Assam covers multiple scenarios, including flood, earthquake, fire, storm, landslides and other disasters, and a personal accident coverage for the business owner. The product has been extended to 106 clients whose business structures comply with the requirements of the product designed. The premium amount was finalized at INR 656 for each client. The insurance product is a combination of components that includes burglary and robbery, personal accident and covers inventory, furniture and equipment. The total coverage is INR 300000.

The project team explored an alternative solution to the challenge and geared up for rolling out the product with extensive interpersonal consultations with the selected clients and supplementing the consultations with disaster risk reduction education. This project comes at an opportune time as India has just evolved its first ever National Disaster Management Plan, which encourages risk transfer approaches while involving and acknowledging the contribution of non-government actors. 

This development in the north-eastern part of India has tremendous potential for generating evidence for the effectiveness of such a mechanism in making vulnerable communities resilient. The client small business has been oriented to the insurance company procedures. 

The project team is consolidating the knowledge and outputs of the project. The team is also finalizing a plan with project partners so that the efforts can be continued with mainly two aspects – promoting and strengthening risk transfer through disaster insurance with small businesses and testing the effectiveness and impact of the insurance product when a disaster strikes.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 151, October 2016:

The various aspects highlighted in this issue of Southasiadisasters.net on the theme of 'Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)' serve to describe how India has a long-standing tradition of corporate philanthropy, by explaining the CSR tradition in the country and different examples in which it has been applied.

 


The clause 135 of the Companies Act 2012 describes the areas in which CSR projects are developed, however the guidelines do not mention directly the need for investing in DRR. Companies should comprehend that by investing in DRR as a strategic CSR activity they will preserve livelihoods from disasters and at the same time they will ensure their business viability.

Therefore, this issue will show different examples of how business sustainability can be reached by contributing CSR donations into DRR. Experiences such as CAIRN in India; the need for children and youth as equal partners in all stages of DRR in Post Sendai Framework; and the importance of social media, Geographical education, IGU and Science-Policy are some examples this issue will address in order to understand the importance of integrating DRR as a strategic CSR activity for building a resilient society. It highlights the importance of building resilience societies by investing in DRR as a strategic CSR activity.

This issue's contents includes: (i) DRR and CSR: What Must be the Agenda?; (ii) DRR and CSR: Experience of CAIRN in India; (iii) Role of The Akshaya Patra Foundation in Relief; (iv) Children and Youth in the Sendai Process; (v) The Private Sectors and Disaster Risk Reduction; (vi) CSR and DRR: The Indian Narrative; (vii) Geography and IGU for DRR through CSR; Human Geoscience based Policy Making; and (viii) CSR and Disaster Risk Reduction.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Ms. Madhu Singh Sirohi, Former Country Head, Vodafone Foundation; Sahima Hannan Datta, DGM, CSR, Cairn India Limited, Gurgaon, New Delhi; Mr. Muralidhar Pundla, Director - Quality &  Continual Improvement, Projects, The Akshaya Patra Foundation; Moa Herrgard, UN MGCY DOP for DRR; and Annisa Triyanti, UN MGCY DRR SPI Focal Point; Tyrone C. Hall, Communication and Culture, York and Ryerson Universities, Canada; and R.B. Singh, Vice President-International Geographical Union (IGU) & Member, ICSU Scientific Committee; Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, New Delhi.

Theme: CSR, DRR, Private Sector.

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Enriching The Asia Regional Plan: Inputs from India

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 150, September 2016:

The various aspects highlighted in this issue of Southasiadisasters.net on the theme of 'Enriching The Asia Regional Plan Inputs from India' serve to depict the manner in which India has developed their NDCs by accepting the need of investing in Green Technologies.

 


Also, it will be discussed the importance of making safer cities. They are comprised of systems, which include human, economic, physical, political and social systems that are impacted by internal and external 'disturbances' which provide an opportunity to adapt, transform, or decline and therefore there is a need to make them safer spaces for the population. This could be done by taking action to re-shape the humanitarian response through following the Core Humanitarian Standard.

In addition, India compromises to give especial attention to the future Structural Mitigation Plan by promoting the construction of safe buildings and smart cities where the Urban Ecosystem ensures a healthy humane habitat. Other aspects this issue takes into account are the need to develop a Disaster Preparedness Plan, giving especial attention to Select Religious Places in India, due to the large amount of population that attend these places every year; and the need to build resilience Child Sensitive Social Protection with Technology in the country. It highlights the importance of what India can, should, and will do in order to develop a Disaster Resilient Society.

This issue's contents includes: (i) India’s NDCs – An Opportunity for Co-creation of Green Technologies; (ii) Urban Disasters and the Core Humanitarian Standard; (iii) An Assessment of Disaster Preparedness Plan of Select Religious Places in India; (iv) A Road To Earthquake Safe Buildings in India; (v) The Importance of Humanitarian Standards in Asia; (vi) Can we have Smart Cities without Smart Citizens?; and (vii) Building Resilience of Children and their Communities by Integrating DRR, Child Sensitive Social Protection with Technology.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Pamela Sitko, Urban Technical Advisor, Disaster Management, World Vision International; Hamendra Dangi and Anish Krishna, University of Delhi, India; Sudhir K. Jain, Professor, Civil Engineering, Gandhinagar, India; Emily Tullock, Communications Officer, CHS Alliance, London, UK; Prof. Aneeta Gokhale–Benninger, Executive Director, CDSA, Pune, India and Vinay Iyer, Project Director, Save The Children, India.

Theme: NDC, Risk Resilience, Smart Cities, DRR.

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Policy Brief for Asian Region Plan

Utilizing SFDRR Priorities to Strengthen Local Governance and Local Disaster Management
The SFDRR Framework highlights the need for competent local governance and local disaster management solutions. It promotes the importance of local governance and the “engagement of all State institutions of an executive and legislative nature at national and local levels and a clear articulation of responsibilities across public and private stakeholders.&rdqu

 


o;The SFDRR also states the need to empower local authorities and local communities to reduce disaster risk, since disasters are experienced at local level and communities and local governments are the first responders and victims. Therefore enhancing local governance and local disaster management requires an effective legal framework and the engagement of multiple stakeholders.

Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Corporate Social Responsibility
Climate change affects the magnitude and frequency of extreme disasters, putting, coping and response mechanisms and economic planning under immense stress. In India natural disasters have been affecting nearly six million people annually and eroding the GDP. Consequently corporations and businesses have become increasingly important in disaster risk management. In addition to this the Sendai Framework highlights a lack of regulation and incentives for private disaster risk reduction investment as an underlying risk driver and call for business to integrate disaster risk into their management practices. Therefore by addressing underlying disaster risk factors through disaster risk-informed public and private investments is more cost-effective than primary reliance on post-disaster response and recover, and contributes to sustainable development.

Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Sustainable Development
Changes in climatic conditions and climate variability exacerbate underlying risk factors generates new threats for a region which is not prepared for such a disasters, and therefore there is a need that climate change and disaster management communities collaborate to address such issue. The SFDRR promotes the importance of climate change adaption and promotes “The conduct of comprehensive surveys on multi-hazard disaster risks and the development of regional disaster risk assessments and maps, including climate change scenarios.” In South Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region local disaster management has become increasingly important and tied to climate change, being the lack of legal oversight, accountability and engagement of multiple stakeholders the most prevalent issues to be addressed.

Risk Transfer through Disaster Insurance: Investing in DRR for Resilience
For decades, the financing of disaster management in developing countries such as India has relied on a reactive approach. Such an approach accords a great deal of focus on providing relief after the event of a disaster while making little provision for preparedness against such events. Such ex-post funding approaches are usually not well coordinated. This gap can be partially addressed by using risk transfer through disaster insurance, which are financial mechanisms formulated to reduce vulnerability to disaster by employing structured instruments to spread risks in exchange for a premium.  One of the most widely discussed types of disaster insurance is microinsurances. These kind of financial insurance services enable the poor among victims to leverage their initiatives and accelerate the process of rebuilding their lives and livelihoods.

Advancing Comprehensive School Safety for Asia and the Pacific
The impacts of disaster to children and youth and to the education system are dire in Asia Pacific. The region is one of the most hazard-prone in the world, where children and youth are disproportionately affected by disasters and impacts of climate change. The post-2015 education agenda is now defined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sendai Framework and the Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools (WISS) have promoted school safety as a priority. Within these agendas, there is opportunity to continue advocating for governments to commit to school safety and education continuity to ensure children’s right to education is protected.

For more details Contact at bestteam@aidmi.org


Preparing for AMCDRR: A Strategic Agenda

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 149, August 2016:

The disaster risk reduction aspects highlighted in this issue serve to depict the manner in which leading countries, including India, have addressed and mitigated different disasters in the past and the lessons learned. The aim of this issue is to bring innovative ideas to AMCDRR in order to accelerate regional implementation and monitoring.

 


By active hosting of AMCDRR India will renew its commitment to the Sendai Framework and pursue a resilient and sustainable future for all citizens.

Southasiadisasters.net is titled, 'Preparing for AMCDRR: A Strategic Agenda.' It highlights the importance of India in preparing itself for hosting the First Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in November 2016 after the advent of the Sendai Framework.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Miyamoto's Role in Implementing SFDRR in Asia; (ii) Women and Disaster; (iii) Building Resilient Futures; (iv) Disaster Risk Reduction and Horticulture in Uzbekistan; (v) GBV and Disasters — South Asia Context; (vi) Why the Start Network Matters Now to Asia; (vii) World Humanitarian Summit, Climate Change and Interventions to Address Slow Onset Events; (viii) Making National Museums Safe from Disasters and (ix) Key Agenda for Gender and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.Contributors include Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Dr. H. Kit Miyamoto, Structural Engineer, Miyamoto International, Inc., USA; Binapani Mishra, Secretary, Society for Women Action Development, Odisha, India; Sara Ahmed, Member, TIFAC–IDRIM 2015 Organising Committee, India; Umidjon Sayfudinov, Horticulture Specialist, Project Support to sustainable economic development in selected regions of Uzbekistan; May Maloney and Sayeeda Farhana, IFRC; Dr Deepti Sastry, Head of Evidence, Start Network, U.K.; Vositha Wijenayake, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA); Dr. Rohit Jigyasu, UNESCO, Chair holder Professor, Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage; and Christina Haneef, IFRC, Regional Gender and Diversity Officer, South East Asia (Bangkok).

Theme: AMCDRR, SFDRR, Climate Change, DRR, Gender.


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First SFDRR Aligned National Disaster Management Plan

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 148, July 2016:

In June 2016, India launched its first National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) with the aim of improving the country's resilience to disasters and reducing the loss of lives and assets. Hailed as one of the first national level plans which is aligned to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), India's NDMP not only adheres to the spirit of SFDRR, it also entails provisions to help India reach the goals set in SFDRR.

This issue of Southasiadisas

 


ters.net is titled, 'First SFDRR Aligned National Disaster Management Plan'. It highlights the importance of the NDMP and its significance to resilience building in India. The articles in this issue address one of the five thematic areas of the SFDRR, viz. Understanding Risk; Inter-Agency Coordination; Investing in DRR – Structural Measures; Investing in DRR – Non-Structural Measures; Capacity Development.

This issue's contents includes: (i) India's National Disaster Management Plan: Clear on Risk Transfer and Insurance; (ii) Voluntary Action after Disaster; (iii) Locating Health in Smart Cities; (iv) Resilience in Flood Management through Technology; (v) Caring after Crisis: Meeting the Needs of the Caregivers; (vi) Photo Essay of Visit to Tamil Nadu after Tsunami; (vii) IMI and Disaster Risk Reduction: A Meeting Report; and (viii) Child Centered DRR–An Approach Addressing Lives, Rights and Needs of Children.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Divita Shandilya, Documentation and Research Officer, Voluntary Action Network India (VANI); Dr. Nitish Dogra, Sector Adviser (Health & Nutrition), TARU Leading Edge Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi; Amarjeet Singh; Anil Patil, Founder and Executive Director, Carers Worldwide, Hertfordshire, UK; Barbara Weber, Retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker from near Philadelphia, PA, USA; Mridula Paul, Programme Director, Integrated Mountain Initiative and Apoorva Patel, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar.

Theme: SFDRR, NDMP, DRR.

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Department of Social Work, Sardar Patel University Felicitated AIDMI

 All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) was felicitated for its contributions in societal development in Gujarat by the Department of Social Work, Sardar Patel University on September 10, 2016. The felicitation event coincided with the 2016 NGO meet of the department titled "Demystifying the Role and Impact of NGOs in Societal Development".

 


Mehul Pandya of AIDMI at the event shared his recent work on disaster risk reduction and climate change across Gujarat and six states of India, including possible areas of collaboration with the university faculty and students in creating and utilizing knowledge for Gujarat’s sustainable development. AIDMI works with over 12 universities in India and abroad. Recent focus of educational collaborations have been on co-creating knowledge for green growth.

Towards Drought Free India

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 147, June 2016:

One of the highest challenge to implementation of SFDRR in Asia is drought. Drought continues to impact on lives and livelihoods.

India was reeling under an intense drought situation a month ago which has affected close to 330 million people from 10 states.

 


Bad monsoons and weak policies around water security have further compounded the problem and precipitated a crisis. Rising temperatures and acute water shortages are adversely affecting human health as well as the economy which is primarily reliant on agriculture.

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net is titled 'Towards Drought Free India'. Droughts are complex, slow on set disasters which have great implications for society and the economy. With close to 60% of the population involved in agriculture and allied activities, droughts in India can be particularly debilitating. They disrupt rural livelihoods and lead to an increase in distress migration.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Drought in Gujarat: Need for Adaptation Measures; (ii) Drought to Jalyukta Maharashtra; (iii) National Disaster Management Plan Celebrated at AIDMI; (iv) Drought In Uttar Pradesh: Role of Job Cards; (v) Integrated Approach Plan for Drought in Jharkhand; (vi) Diversification of Land use Against Drought in Madhya Pradesh; (vii) Drought in Gujarat: Using MGNREGA; (viii) Drought in Andhra: Making DPAP Work; and (ix) Impacts of Water Scarcity and the Drought Situation in Bihar.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Ankita Padhalni, Disha Dwivedi, Meet J. Gadhvi, Nancy Bhengra,  Niranjana Hingane, Vira Chudasama, and Yuvraj Singh Rajput, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.

Theme: Drought, National Disaster Management Plan, Disaster Risk Reduction.

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Children Demand for Safe School and Safe Education

A consultation was held with over 54 children of 7 districts of Gujarat on August 5, 2016 at Ahmedabad. What is Safe School and Safe Education? This question was on the discussion agenda of the children. Three groups discussed this: one with visual representation, one with written representation; and one with debate.

 


The purpose of the consultation was to understand children’s perspectives on Safe School and Safe Education in Gujarat.

A discussion with children was initiated by defining what is a disaster. Impact on schools and children due to disasters was discussed. The children worked on four aspects: Health and Children, Preparedness and Children, Preparedness and School, Structural Safety and School. All children demanded for disaster management as a topic for their extra curricular activities in the school. Children feel that they should be part of assessing hazards and vulnerability of their school. Children wanted to know the use of mobile phones to make their school safe during emergency. AIDMI conducted this session. CRCG and UNICEF supported the session.

For more details Contact Vandana Chauhan at bestteam@aidmi.org.

Youth for Resilient India

A consultation with 15 youths of Ahmedabad city was held on July 30, 2016: What is Safe School and Safe Education? This question was on the discussion agenda.  The purpose of the consultation was to understand youths’ perspectives on what is to be added in National Education Policy 2016 in terms of Safe Schools and Safe Education.<

 


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The youths suggested to include them in safety assessments of schools and all educational buildings in their neighbourhood. Youths wanted to include their views on disaster management planning in National Education Policy 2016. They demanded more investments in awareness of risk and attribution of weather events. The suggestion included greater participation, use of technology, and investment in capabilities. Youths also suggested integrating disaster risk management and climate risk management in IT related courses at all levels from ITIs to IITS. Youths strongly emphasised on the use of emergency technology such as twitter and whatsapp in disaster management in India. Youths demanded to introduce disaster risk reduction education in civil engineering and mechanical engineering courses in attribution to humanities and science streams.  Youths showed their interest in awareness generation of DRR and attribution of weather change to extreme events such as heat wave and floods in urban areas.


Tweet to Transform Disaster Risk Reduction

All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) joined Oxfam India in Twit to Transform workshop in Delhi, July 22, 2016.

Shri Kamal Kishore, Member, NDMA, reflected on the recent use of twitter in humanitarian crisis in India.

“Have a social media strategy for the next disaster.

 


And be ready to change it as soon as the first message is sent out” said Shri Kishore. He was reflecting on recent disasters in India and how twitter can help reach out with relief to the unreached communities.

Each disaster has seen greater and wider use of twitter in India.

“Some crisis protocols have not changed for a century and twitter protocol will change in the next six months” he added, to point out that institutional protocols and technological protocols do not often match in India.

AIDMI pointed out the possible use of twitter in both, response and preparedness not only in India but also in Asia. AIDMI aims to work on reaching the poor and women who are often not reached by twitter in most cases.


India’s National Disaster Management Plan: Clear on Risk Transfer and Insurance

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi released the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) on June 1, 2016. This is the first ever national plan prepared in the country. And it is the first national plan to align with SFDRR. The NDMP aims to make India disaster resilient and significantly reduce the loss of lives and assets.

 


It is based on the four priorities of SFDRR. (Press Information Bureao, Government of India, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=145840) The NDMP of India is covering all the phases of disaster management and with detail roles and responsibilities allocated to all levels of the government. The integration of disaster management with development planning is also aimed in the NDMP to push the agenda of mainstreaming DRR with national development. The NDMP is an important step towards taking risk transfer and insurance agenda at a higher level of commitment and improvement from current stage, which is crucial to make India disaster resilient and directly reducing loss of assets.

As of now Government of India is acting as a self-insurer for the purpose of maintaining relief funds. These funds are monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in consultation with the Ministry of Finance. The amount committed for SDRF is invested by the Union in government securities. MHA has issued guidelines in consultation with the Ministry of Finance for the maintenance and encashment of the securities as and when required. However, need for projects or risk transfer instruments by private agencies is also acknowledged by the Government. The corresponding policy changes and fund requirement are to be deliberated in detail in consultation with the IRDA, insurance sector and other stakeholders. Thus, the risk transfer and insurance mechanism that targeting  is poor and vulnerable populations needs to work out next step. ‘Planning process is more important than making plans’, said by Shri Kamal Kishore, Member, NDMA, when he launched the plan.

Role of private sector such as insurance companies for ‘risk informed investments in recovery efforts’ is highlighted in the NDMP. However, from the field reality point-of-view, a long journey is ahead to reach risk informed investments. needed to make.

A recent initiative of the Government of India for promoting life insurance coverage through microinsurance products (name of the products) is well received by the Indian citizen. Based on the progress, Government and insurance companies should play a more pro-active role in motivating citizens in vulnerable areas to take non-life insurance cover. This could be done through suitably designed insurance policies for poor and vulnerable populations that cover non-life components, if required, with part funding from government. NDMA could play a major role in this area for pooling the risk of poor and vulnerable populations, including small and informal business operators. This type of protection will support the building back better approach and positive financial behavior of citizens who are contributing over GDP - 55% from the informal sector.

AIDMI with support from Stanford University and HIF, are sharing results from a pilot research project on how such mechanism can be created by the stakeholders in implementing NDMP.

Authorities should take insurance as a means of funding disaster related expenditures and as a tool to speed up the recovery. The role of insurance in financing disaster management for poor and vulnerable citizens needs to further evaluation. The sub-national (state) structure can be taken to target the vulnerable citizens in coastal areas (e.g. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha that frequently affected by cyclone and/or floods), hilly areas (e.g. Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim), flood plains (e.g. Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal). This requires leadership of sub-national authorities for bigger sub-national pilots with insurance and reinsurance companies to explore potential socioeconomic protection mechanisms for non-life component coverage. Mandatory property insurance solutions in respect of property tax payers living in high hazardous areas (against earthquake and cyclone and floods) can be a good beginning for risk transfer and insurance.

Microinsurance reaches a very small population of low-income groups, particularly from informal sectors such as small businesses. The obstacles include, regulatory systems, the insufficient understanding of the instruments, difficulties of estimating risks (particularly in light of climate change), interest of insurance companies to reach out to poor and vulnerable populations. Much can be learned from the field pilots, which puts people’s wants at the center of the design and implementation process.

The innovation is in the last stage of finalizing the insurance product; and designing the evaluation, which will result into a tool kit with the knowledge product from the project.


Indo-Myanmar Collaboration for Local Implementation of SFDRR

A diverse team of women leaders from Myanmar consisting of parliamentarian, social workers and community members visited AIDMI on July 9, 2016. Ways to implement Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) locally were discussed among delegates from Myanmar and AIDMI team. The demand to develop risk transfer policy from vulnerable communities and small informal business holders in Myanmar was discussed.

 


The group stressed upon the need of long term recovery evaluation of ‘Cyclone Nargis’. A need to develop National Disaster Management Policy and Plan for Myanmar was realised among delegates after India’s National Disaster Management Plan was shared. Myanmar’s participation in upcoming Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction was discussed with focus on finance, governance and local planning in disaster risk reduction.

Building Resilience for All: Lessons from Assam for Asia

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 146, May 2016:
 
How does disaster risk reduction work in one of the important states of India: Assam? What kind of lessons can building resilience in Assam offer for Asia? This issue has a strategic list of activities and ideas.

This issue of Southasiadisasters.n

 


et focuses on the theme of 'Building Resilience for All: Lessons from Assam for Asia'. It highlights some of the major initiatives taken up by Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Assam. This issue focuses on the various areas on which ASDMA and UNICEF have worked in Assam such as children in emergencies, school safety, community based disaster preparedness, traditional coping mechanisms, etc.

The good work done by ASDMA and UNICEF offers a lot of lessons in resilience building for Asia, which suffers massive loss and damage due to disasters annually.

The challenges and opportunities in all these areas have been highlighted. The breadth and scope of all such initiatives bear testimony to ASDMA’s commitment to making a safe and resilient Assam.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Situational Analysis of Children and Women in Assam, 2016; (ii) School Safety including SDMP and Mock Drills: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead; (iii) Community based Disaster Preparedness; Challenges and Opportunities Ahead; (iv) Integration Disaster Risk Reduction with Climate Change Adaptation; (v) Children in Emergencies; (vi) Public Health in Emergencies; (vii) Traditional Coping Mechanisms; (ix) Earthquake Engineering; (x) The Journey of Assam Jatiya Bidyalay in Ensuring Safer Learning Environment to Children; (xi) Hospital Safety Audit; and (xii) Report on Commemoration of Child Protection Day in Assam.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; V. K. Pipersenia, IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Assam; and Dilip Kumar Dutta Choudhury with Gopen Barman, Assam Jatiya Bidyalay, Assam.

Theme: Building Resilience, School Safety, Children and Women, Disaster Risk Reduction, Hospital Safety.

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Discussion on National Disaster Management Plan at AIDMI

AIDMI team discussed India’s first and comprehensive National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). Directions and guidelines given in the plan are aligned to SFDRR priorities and AIDMI team is committed to implement activities mentioned in the plan in AIDMI’s ongoing projects and activities.<

 


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The NDMP provides a framework and direction to the government agencies for all phases of disaster management cycle. The NDMP is a “dynamic document” in the sense that it will be periodically improved keeping up with the emerging global best practices and knowledge base in disaster management. It is in accordance with the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the guidance given in the National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009 (NPDM), and the established national practices.

The NDMP incorporates substantively the approach enunciated in the Sendai Framework and will help the country to meet the goals set in the framework.

To view NDMP

One Humanity, Shared Responsibility

Statement of Commitments from Humanitarian Scholars at World Humanitarian Summit
Humanitarian Scholars present at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) made six commitments towards creating positive change in resolvinghumanitarian crises.

 


These commitments are aligned towards UN’s Secretary Generals ‘Agenda for Humanity’.AIDMI supports the directions and ideas. The commitments from Humanitarian Scholars can be found at: Statement of Commitments


Risk and Resilience: Indo-Japanese Areas of Collaboration

Mr. Kenichiro Toyofuku, (The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, “Japan Plus”) visited AIDMI on April 12, 2016. Japan has always taken a lead in building resilience against disasters. The naming of the Hyogo and Sendai frameworks for disaster risk reduction reflect Japan’s unwavering commitment to building resilience of countries and communities to various hazards.

 


Japan has invested a lot in the Indian economy, especially in the infrastructure sector. To ensure the safety and sustainability of these investments, Mr. Kenichiro suggested following areas to focus on:
1. Accurate Weather Forecasting
2. Insurance Companies and State Governments
3. Public Financing


Implementing COP21 Paris Agreement

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 145, April 2016:

How can Paris Agreement reduce emission as well as reduce poverty? To AIDMI this is the key question for implementation.

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the theme of 'Implementing COP21 Paris Agreement'. It highlights the views of some of the most reputed academics and practitioners who have closely followed the evolution of this agreement.

 


Important aspects such as the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), national mitigation and adaptation strategies have been highlighted in this issue. Similarly, this issue also highlights the role of international partnerships; public systems and sharing of technical know-how between nations in the pursuit of climate justice.

Developing countries like India have the additional onus of reconciling the development aspirations of their people with the commitments of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, it will be valuable to see how innovatively can India and other nations implement the Paris Agreement to make the world safe from the adverse impacts of climate change as well as reduce ongoing poverty.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Implementing Paris Agreement in India; (ii) Implementing Cop 21 Paris Agreement in South Asia: A View from India; (iii) COP 21 Paris Agreement What Can India–Russia Do to Implement it?; (iv) Chennai Floods 2015: A View from Cop 21 Paris Agreement Implementation in India; (v) Cop 21 Paris Agreement: A View from Pakistan; (vi) Why did Chennai Drown?; (vii) Role of Public Systems in Implementing COP 21 Paris Agreement in India; (ix) COP 21 in Paris: Politics of Climate Change; and (x) The COP21 Paris Agreement: Reducing or Creating Vulnerability?

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Dr. Asif Sukhera and Dr. Sabina Imran Durrani, National Health Emergency Preparedness & Response Network (NHEPRN), Pakistan; Chitvan Singh Dhillon, Economist and Freelance Journalist, Chandigarh; Dr. Christoph Woiwode, Visiting Professor, Indo–German Centre for Sustainability, IIT Madras; Dr. I. Arul Aram, Asso. Professor, Department of Chemistry, Anna University, Chennai; Ilan Kelman, University College London; Rais Akhtar, Adjunct Professor, IIHMR, New Delhi; Uma Purushothaman, Assistant Professor, Central University of Keral, Kerala; and Vidhee Avashia, Doctoral Student, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Theme: COP21, INDC, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction, Floods, UNFCC, India

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Building resilience for all

The Indian state of Assam is exposed to an array of hazards and is highly prone to disaster and climate risks. In response to the state's enhanced vulnerability, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) in partnership with the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI), routinely takes up various initiatives to build the resilience of Assam and its citizens to such risks.<

 


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This position paper provides an overview of some of the main initiatives taken up by ASDMA and the related challenges and opportunities . More specicifally, the publication recounts projects taken up and related to the protection of children in emergencies, school safety through disaster management plans and mock drills, and integration of disater risk reduction with climate change adaptation.

Themes: Climate Change; Education & School Safety; Social Impacts & Resilience


South-South Cooperation in Action: Urban Resilience and Risk Transfer

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 144, March 2016:

How to make citizens in cities safe? This issue addresses this crucial topic.

A risk transfer mechanism like disaster microinsurance helps in transferring the risk of an impending catastrophe from an individual to an institution (insurance company).

 


This issue highlights the way in which contextualized risk transfer mechanisms can protect the livelihoods and assets of India's urban poor from disaster and climate risks. Such mechanisms will eventually help in making India's cities safe, sustainable and inclusive. For those who decide on 100 Smart Cities Programme of Government of India this issue is a ready reference.

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net focuses on the theme of "Building Urban Resilience through Risk Transfer and Insurance". It brings together the insights from the 8th South-South Citizenry Based Development sub-Academy (SSCBDA). This academy was organized in Ahmedabad, India from 11th February-13th February, 2015. It saw the coming together of academics, students and practitioners from the field of humanitarianism to discuss and deliberate upon the importance of risk transfer mechanisms as instruments for engendering resilience for India's urban poor.

This issue's contents includes: (i) 8th South-South Citizenry Based Development sub-Academy (SSCBDA); (ii) Learning Statement from the Academy; (iii) Financial Burden Due To Natural Disaster; (iv) Risk Transfer and Urban Resilience: Opportunities in COP21 and SFDRR Implementation; (v) Insurance, Women and Climate Change; (vi) Scope and Potential of Disaster Risk Transfer in Muzaffarpur; (vii) A German Social Start-up on its Mission to Revolutionize the Market for Construction Material in Bangladesh; (viii) Urban Resilience: Three Ideas for Action; (ix) I Will Stand Again and (x) Case Study of Sankar Muduli.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Denis Nkala, UNOSSC; Dr. Aditya Prakash, IAS, Probational DM, Muzaffarpur, Bihar; Arup Das, sSTEP, Assam; Ronak B. Patel, MD MPH, Stanford University; Ava Mulla, Co-Founder, CEO, Building Pioneers UG, Germany; Binapani Mishra, Secretary, Society for Women Action Development (SWAD), Puri, Odisha; and Shilpa Pandya, Development Consultant.

This issue highlights the critical everyday connections that link local processes with SFDRR implementation in Asia.

Theme:
Urban Resilience, Risk Transfer, Micro insurance.

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Youth Leadership in Long-Term Recovery

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 143, March 2016:

This issue of Southasiadisasters.net is titled ‘Youth Leadership in Long Term Recovery’. Disaster recovery is an important phase of the disaster management cycle as it helps in the evolution of resilient communities. However, the voices of the youth are often left out of the recovery process.

 


In January 2016, the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) invited 8 students from Oxford Brookes University to visit 2 districts of Gujarat to study the long-term impacts of recovery from the 2001 earthquake. This issue of Southasiadisasters.net is a compendium of the perspectives and views of these students on long-term recovery following 15 years after the Gujarat Earthquake. Contributions from John Twigg and other reputed academics are also included in this issue.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Youth Leadership in Long-Term Recovery (ii) The Puzzle of Long-Term Recovery: Finding the Missing Pieces; (iii) Sustainability in Long-Term Recovery: Reflections from Kutch Earthquake Response Work; (iv) Looking Back and Looking Forward: A view of long term recovery from the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake; (v) Recovery through Livelihood Restoration; (vi) Building Communities through Settlement Planning; (vii) A Multi–Hazard Approach to Long-Term Recovery; (viii) Built Back Better? Disaster Recovery as an Opportunity for Improvement; (ix) Youth, DRR and Sustainable Development, and (x) From House to Home: Allowing for the safe adaptation of housing in reconstruction projects.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Dr John Twigg, Co-Director, Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience, Department of Civil; Dr. Supriya Akerkar, Programme lead Senior Lecturer, CENDEP; Alexandra Freeman, Austin Snowbarger, Chanel Currow, George Williams, Katie Reilly, Leonie Smith, Martina Ferrao, Sonia Tong; MA and MArchD students, CENDEP, Oxford Brookes University, UK.

Theme: Youth Leadership, Sustainable Recovery, Resilience.

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World Conference on Humanitarian Studies: AIDMI’s Participation on Risk Transfer and Insurance; and Child Centered Disaster Risk Reduction

French Version
 
La World Conference of Humanitarian studies, qui s’est tenue du 5 au 8 mars 2016 à Addis Abeba, a réuni des acteurs d’horizons divers, partageant un même objectif d’échange d’information et de retour d’expérience.

 


L’ONG All India Disaster Mitigation (AIDMI) Institute a participé à cette conférence, présentant plusieurs défis que doivent relever les études humanitaires en Inde. AIDMI a ainsi présenté a la fois son travail sur les micro assurances contre les catastrophes naturelles à l’usage des petits commerce informels, ainsi que sur les droits des enfants et la résilience urbaine. Dr Kamal Lochan Mishra du département de gestion des catastrophes naturelles de l’Odisha, partenaire privilégié d’AIDMI était aussi présent.

AIDMI s’attelle à diffuser des micro-assurances contre les catastrophes naturelles pour les commerces informels. Les commerces informels sont en effet nécessaires au fonctionnement de l’économie urbaine, alimentant en biens essentiels les habitants et offrant la possibilité à d’autres types de services de se développer. Les habitants des bidonvilles s’appuient sur ces vendeurs de rue pour accéder à des biens de faible coût et pour leurs besoins immédiats. Ces commerces doivent pourtant faire face à des catastrophes naturelles qui ont des impacts économiques dévastateurs, ce qui dissuade souvent les nouveaux entrants sur le marché. Lorsque ces commerces font faillite c’est toute la communauté qui y perd un accès à des biens nécessaires.

Les micro assurances contre les catastrophes naturelles sont des outils qui peuvent aider les commerces informels à faire face aux catastrophes : par le paiement de modestes primes d’assurances à des ONG, des institutions de microfinance ou des compagnies d’assurances, ils acquièrent un soutien financier en cas de perte due à une catastrophe. Considérant le manque d’informations et de données sur les besoins de ces commerces, AIDMI en partenariat avec Stanford University et le Humanitarian Innovation Fund ont décidé de créer un projet qui protège les vendeurs de rue en cas de catastrophe.

La première partie du projet consistait en une étude de besoin dans trois villes : Puri (Odisha), Guwahati (Assam) et Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu). Les résultats furent ensuite utilisés pour concevoir des polices de micro assurance adaptées à chaque ville. L’objectif de cette enquête était de mesurer la connaissance des micro-assurances, de comprendre les besoins et désirs des commerces informels.

La méthodologie suivie a été de proposer l’enquête à un échantillon de vendeurs de rue. Le questionnaire comportait des questions sur le niveau de vie, la composition du ménage, l’impact des dernières catastrophes sur le commerce. Des partenaires locaux ont permis de récolter les informations voulues. L’enquête a été suivie d’un essai randomisé contrôlé : la moitié des répondant se sont vu attribuer une police de micro assurance, l’autre moitié jouant le rôle de groupe de contrôle. 

Les principales conclusions de l’enquête sont les suivantes :
-Il existe un large besoin de micro-assurance (ou autre mécanisme de protection contre les risques) pour les commerces informels.
-Très peu de répondants possèdent une assurance et parmi eux la plupart ont des assurances vies, parfois des assurances santés (provenant du gouvernement).
-La compréhension du fonctionnement d’une assurance est très limitée et les commerces informels n’ont pas accès à des sources d’information fiable dans ce domaine. Ce manque est l’un des plus gros obstacles à l’accès aux assurances.
-Beaucoup de répondants ont été affecté par une ou plusieurs catastrophes naturelles d’ampleur variable, souvent des inondations ou cyclones.
-L’enquête a révélé une importante méfiance à l’égard de tels produits. Les clients à faibles revenus estiment ne pas avoir besoin d’assurance, ne font pas confiance aux assureurs et pensent qu’ils ne pourraient pas payer.
-La plupart des commerces ont fait d’énormes pertes durant les catastrophes naturelles. Après celles-ci ils sont forcés d’emprunter à des créanciers locaux qui imposent des taux d’intérêts exorbitants, ce qui plonge les commerçants dans la dette.

Les résultats de l’enquête ainsi que des tables rondes et des consultations ont été utilisés pour concevoir des produits de micro-assurance. Des assurances ont déjà été distribuées à Puri, à Cuddalore elle est en cours de discussion et sera bientôt prête à Guwahati également.

Droits des enfants et résilience urbaine en Inde.
AIDMI a également présenté son travail relatif aux droits des enfants durant la conférence. D’après l’UNICEF, les enfants représentent 50 à 60% de la population affectée par les catastrophes naturelles. Les pluies torrentielles et hautes températures causent des maladies telles que la dengue ou l’encéphalite japonaise ; les mauvaises conditions de vie exposent les enfants à une importante pollution de l’air ; les inondations augmentent l’exposition aux eaux contaminées etc. Les déplacements de populations sont aussi une conséquence majeure des catastrophes. Durant ces déplacements, les familles sont séparées, les droits des enfants au refuge, à l’éducation, à la sécurité sont rarement garantis. Les trafics, abus et exploitations d’enfants augmentent significativement dans ces périodes de crise. Les violences faites aux femmes et aux jeunes filles sont également particulièrement accrues durant ces périodes.

Il est donc crucial d’organiser la protection et le soutien des enfants et familles, autrement que part des aides économiques. Les autorités locales et nationales ont beaucoup à faire en ce sens. Des mesures concrètes pour renforcer et décentraliser l’éducation, l’accès à l’eau, à l’hygiène doivent être prises. Intégrer la sécurité des enfants dans les plans de gestion des risques des villes et districts est aussi une nécessité. AIDMI a souligné la nécessité pour tous les acteurs de prendre part à cette protection des enfants, tout en leur faisant confiance et en les reconnaissant comme de véritables agents de changement qui peuvent participer à la réflexion et à la mise en place de mesures de protection qui les concerne.

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Emergency Management Exercise (EMEx) in Assam: Building Sub National Preparedness

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 142, February 2016:

The Indian state of Assam is highly prone to disaster and climate risks. A burgeoning population and haphazard planning further drive up the vulnerability of Assam's cities to such risks.

This issue of Southasiadisasters.n

 


et focuses on the theme of Emergency Management Exercises (EMExes) in Assam. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) recently organized a series of EMExs across several cities of Assam. The objective of such exercises was to bring together various actors such as state and regional emergency responders, educational institutions, hospitals, health care professionals, humanitarian agencies, government departments, non-government organisations, civil society organisations and professionals from emergency management-related fields - to assess the cities' disaster preparedness and resilience, acquire new skills for emergency management and mass casualty events, and to develop a multi-disciplinary, inter-stakeholder, coordinated response during emergencies.

This issue's contents includes: (i) Journey from 2012 to 2015: A Sincere Effort in Improving Preparedness for Emergency Response; (ii) Child Centered DRR–The Thematic Focus in GEMEx 2015; (iii) Scaling Down the Idea of EMExs in Districts of Assam–the Approach of ASDMA; (iv) GEMEx, 2015: Learning Emergency Ways of Working of the Public Health Work Force; (v) Redefining Ownership–School Based Disaster Risk Reduction a Reality in Axom Jatiya Vidyalay; (vi) When Disaster Reduction Became a Reality–the Story to Share; (vii) Making Emergency Preparedness 'Walk the Talk'–Mission EMEx of Assam Reaches Nalbari; (viii) Lakhimpur Emergency Management Exercise (LEMEx), 2016 and (ix) Dhemaji Emergency Management Exercise (DEMEx), 2016.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and activists, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Lt Gen NC Marwah, PVSM, AVSM (Retd) Member, National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi; Kripaljyoti Mazumdar, Project Officer, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), Assam Secretariat, Dispur, Assam; Sunny Buragohain and Barnali Singha,  Program Coordinator, Doctors for You NERO Office, Guwahati and Md. Rafiqul Islam, Subject Teacher (English), Govt. Gurdon HS School, Nalbari.

This issue highlights the recently held EMExs from the various cities of Assam such as Guwahati, Nalbari, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dhubri, Sibsagar, Darrang, and Sonitpur. Preparedness and coordination are crucial for an effective response to emergencies. Read on to know more on how these EMExes are helping in inculcating a culture of preparedness among the first responders to disasters in Assam's cities.
 

Theme: Emergency Response, Capacity Building, Preparedness.

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Building Youth and Women’s Leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction

Among demographic groups, youth and women are highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of disasters. Their enhanced vulnerability is partly explained by their limited access to resources and partly due to restrictive social norms which limit their scope of opportunity. Despite this enhanced vulnerability, youth and women seldom find a voice in disaster risk reduction (DRR).<

 


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To promote the leadership of youth and women in resilience building, the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) organized an orientation programme on March 14th, 2016 with 28 female students of SNDT University, Mumbai. Titled ‘Building Youth and Women’s Leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction’, this programme introduced the participants to a youth and women centric approach to DRR. Through interactive sessions, various efforts to promote the role of youth and women in DRR were also discussed. 

Dr. Narayan Gaonkar (Health Specialist, UNICEF Gujarat) was the guest of honour at this programme. He also took one session to explain to the participants the concepts of ‘Child Centred DRR’. Perhaps the most important outcome of this programme was the views shared by the participants (mostly young women) on the risks they face and possible resilience building measures. AIDMI has captured these views and will incorporate them in its work of risk reduction for vulnerable communities in India and beyond.

Government Intervention for Flood Recovery of Small Businesses

In December 2015, heavy rains hit the Cuddalore District, causing flooding in several villages.  Due to the monsoon rains and floods, 7 Taluks - namely Cuddalore Kurinjipadi, Panruti, Annagramam, Kammapuram, Keerapalayam and Port Nova talukas- in which 323 panchayats- were affected by flood left 108 panchayats underwater.

 


In this same region, 199 lakes reached their full capacity and several cubic feet of excess water overflowed causing flooding and washing away many hamlets and villages around these lakes. It is reported that about 450 km of village roads have been damaged by this flood. About 85,000 people were evacuated from low lying areas and they were sheltered in relief centers in the District while food, water and sanitary facilities were provided by the District Administration.  The death toll reached 94 on the final count.

Small business were particularly impacted by these floods. Most were not able to open their business for over a month. While their houses were inundated, many of them were shifted to relief camps, driven away from their daily livelihood. Their business places were surrounded by water, their stocks were lost (by damage and expiration), their tent, tin sheet or other materials were washed away. When they did try to open the cost of raw materials to rebuild had gone up. Even when they were able to open, customers were missing due to the rain.

Understanding the impacts of the floods and the best response to give, the project team advocated the need to provide support to flood affected small informal businesses to the district and state administration. The government of Tamil Nadu also took part in the discussion. At the state level, it appeared clear that measures needed to be taken. Small businesses - who had lost assets because of the flood – are prone to take out loans often provided by private parties with high interest rates. Small business owners are at risk of falling into debt because of the floods. Disaster risk reduction strategies for small business vendors were discussed with the principal secretary and the advisors to the government of Tamil Nadu by AIDMI in the beginning of January 2016. During the meeting, the government appreciated the initiatives of AIDMI to support small businesses in Cuddalore and collecting data on assessing the impact of flooding to these vendors. This discussion was fruitful as the government issued a few  financial measures for the small businesses.

The government of Tamil Nadu on 13th January 2016 announced that the vendors and small shop owners would receive an interest free loan of up to 5000 INR each. No interest would be collected for these loans up to 5000 INR. Those affected by the floods, will need to repay the loans within 25 weeks. 10-day camps were conducted by the cooperative banks and potential beneficiaries were identified. The Government has also said that those repaying the loan on time would be eligible for another loan of the same amount at an interest rate of four percent.


The State of Children in Asian Cities

Southasiadisasters.net issue no. 141, January 2016:
 
We know so little about the risks our children face in our cities! This issue addresses this gap to help better make Asian Regional Plan for implementation of SFDRR in Asian cities. This issue is also a first step to inform the upcoming UN Habitat III Conference on ‘Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development’, Quito, Ecuador, in October 17-20, 2016.<

 


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This issue explores the extent of children's vulnerability and resilience to such risks in several Asian cities. Specific institutional arrangements, programmes and projects that aim to promote children's welfare in these cities are examined. The COP21 has rightly recognized many cities to be indispensable partners to achieving climate justice. Since climate change also enhances the risk profile of children, this issue also explores the theme of child centered climate change adaptation. The Asian cities highlighted in this issue include: Dhaka, Kathmandu, Mumbai, Phnom Penh, Thimphu, and Yangon.
 
This issue's contents includes: (i) Children and Youth are Agents of Change; (ii) Urban Resilience and Children's Rights in Dhaka; (iii) Urban Resilience and Children's Rights in Yangon; (iv) Understanding of Disaster and Development; (v) Urban Resilience and Children's Rights in Thimphu; (vi) Urban Resilience and Children's Rights in Phnom Penh; (vii) Urban Resilience and Children's Rights in Mumbai – The Case of NGO Schools in Mumbai; (viii) Urban Resilience and Children's Rights in Kathmandu; (ix) Urban Resilience and Children's Rights in Northeast India; (x) Turning Disaster into Development: Community Learning Centers — A Way to Recover from Disasters; (xi) An Ecologist View of Challenges in Restoring Coastal Habitats; (xii) Household Water Filter Evaluation What Works?; and (xiii) Urban Political Ecology and the Social Production of Urban Coastal Flooding.

This issue highlights the critical everyday connections that link local processes with the SFDRR implementation in Asia.

Some of the best thinkers, researchers, experts, and practitioners, including Mihir R. Bhatt with AIDMI Team; Feng Min Kan, Head, UNISDR Asia-Pacific Office, UNESCAP; Eleni - Styliani Galani, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany; Meikhiambung Abung, Ambedkar University, Delhi; Giulia Georg, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil; Claire Alanoix, Sciences Po Paris, France; Marija Jankovic, University of Belgrade, Serbia; Delhi; Reema Nanavaty, SEWA; R.S. Bhalla (PhD), Sr. Fellow, Foundation for Ecological Research; Lauren McKown, Communications Coordinator, MIT, United States, and Bradford Powers, JD, LLM, Doctoral Fellow, Tulane University, USA.

The authors hope that this issue will help World Humanitarian Summit focus more directly on children and their protection in cities from humanitarian crises.

Theme: Children, Urban, Resilience, Children’s Right.

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Sonitpur Emergency Management Exercise, February 23, 2016, Assam

Sonitpur Emeregency Management Exercise (SEMEx), 23rd to 27th February, 2016 was kicked off on 23rd of February at the district library auditorium, Tezpur, Sonitpur. Addressing the gathering, Mr. Asim Kumar Chetia, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Assam State Disaster Management Authority elaborated the mission EMEx of ASDMA and stated that Sonitpur is the last EMEx for this financial year.

 


Ms. Laya Baduri IAS, Deputy Comissioner-cum-charperson DDMA, called it an opportunity to restrospect systems preparedness to deaal with any emargency in the district. AIDMI is facilitating the School Disaster Preparedness training track and will be co-facilitator in Table-Top. AIDMI will also be among the core group of obersvers for the field drill to be conducted on the last day.

2015 Disasters in Numbers

This infographic presents the disaster trends in 2015 linked to natural hazards. According to the analysis, there were 346 reported disasters in 2015, 22,773 people dead, 98.6 million people were affected by those disasters and US$66.5 billion of economic damages. The top five most disaster-hit countries were China (26), USA (22), India (19), Philippines (15) and Indonesia (11).

 


(source: UNISDR)

for more information: www.unisdr.org/files/47804_2015disastertrendsinfographic.pdf


Darrang Emergency Management Exercise, February 16, 2016, Assam

Keeping its commitment and support for resilient Assam, AIDMI team joins District Disaster Management Authority, Darrang for the conduct of Darrang Emergency Management Exercise, 16th to 20th February, 2016. AIDMI joined the event on the second day and is conducting the School Disaster Preparedness track (17th-18th February) Training of Trainers track comprising of the Education department officials, teachers and students. AIDMI will also support the conduct of Table Top Simulation and Field Drill. .

 



Sivasagar Emergency Management Exercise (SEMEx), February 13, 2016, Assam

Embarking something new, noble and necessary, the “Natya Mandir” (Drama Temple) Conference hall, Sivasagar witnessed the inauguration of Sivasagar Emergency Management Exercise (SEMEx), on 13th February, 2016. Amidst holy atmosphere on the eve of “Saraswati Puja”- the worship dedicated to the goddess of education, mission emergency preparedness reached its next destination in Assam as the SEMEx, 2016 was launched.

 


As a stakeholder in this mission of Assam, AIDMI is leaving no stone unturned to support the DDMAs and now DDMA Sivasagar in successful conduct of the five day exercises by providing its technical expertise in conduct of School Disaster Preparedness ToT, facilitation support to Table Top and assessment support in Field drills. This exercise in Sivasagar will continue till 17th of February, 2016.

Micro Disaster Insurance for small businesses

A training to project stakeholders on Micro Disaster Insurance for small businesses was conducted in the premises of Society for Social Transformation and Environment Protection (sSTEP) Guwahati was facilitated by AIDMI on 8th February, 2016. The objective was to introduce the project team together with small businesses about the basics of insurance, typology, and principles etc, the overview of the disaster micro-insurance product designed for Odisha and to chalk out joint strategies for conduct of effective conduct of Focused Group Discussion

 


s (FGDs) with selected small business owners in the city. The platform provided for greater interaction, sharing of views, ideas and feedback by Small Business Owners (SBOs) about further developments in the project. The small businesses agreed that FGDs with such evidences, tools, explanations and logic will be helpful in removing misconceptions among the small businesses owners (SBOs) about insurance and will promote risk reducing behavior through up-take of various available insurance products. The present SBOs assured all possible cooperation and support in organizing such FGDs at their respective business locations

 
The project team will capitalize upon the learning from the training and will move ahead with FGDs accordingly. As the product design for Assam is in Progress, the FGDs will lay the backbone for speedy implementation of the product.

Resilience through Risk Transfer: Lessons from the SSCBDA

The innovation is a small business disaster microinsurance programme to enhance recovery of local markets that play a critical role in providing goods and services to disaster-affected populations in urban settings.

The All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) organized the ‘8th South-South Citizenry Based Development sub-Academy (SSCBDA)’ in Ahmedabad, January 11-13, 2016. The supporting partners of this academy included th

 


e Humanitarian Innovation Fund, Stanford University, and Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, United Kingdom.

The theme of this year’s academy was ‘Building Urban Resilience through Risk Transfer: Protecting Small Businesses and Local Market Recovery’. This academy provided the perfect platform for several leaders, practitioners, students and members of various community based organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to share their experience and knowledge of reducing risks in their communities and learn from the experience and knowledge of others.

It is often observed that local communities are the first responders to any disaster. This high level of risk exposure has led these local communities to partner with local Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to come up with coping mechanisms based on local knowledge systems. However, such risk reduction innovations from the grassroots often go unnoticed at regional and global levels. 

This year a total of 37 participants from 8 countries and 6 Indian states participated in the academy. These participants were drawn from reputed government bodies, multi-lateral agencies and universities. These included Mr. Denis Nkala, Regional Chief (Asia Pacific), UN Office for South South Cooperation; Ms. Nandita Hazararika, Deputy Secretary and SPO, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA); Dr. Aditya Prakash, Probational DM, Muzzafarpur, Bihar; Dr. Kamal Lochan Mishra, Chief General Manager, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA); Dr. Supriya Akerkar, Lead Senior Lecturer, CENDEP, Oxford Brookes University (OBU); Ms. Prabha Pokhrel, Chairperson, Integrated Development Society (IDS) Nepal; and Dr. M.G.S. Silva, Chairman, Yasiru Mutual Provident Society Ltd., Sri Lanka. 8 students from Oxford Brookes University also attended the academy.

The academy was inaugurated by Mr. Denis Nkala and Mr. Mihir R. Bhatt, Managing Trustee, AIDMI. Both Mr. Nkala and Mr. Bhatt noted that small and informal businesses in urban locations provide social mobility and a dignified means of livelihood to the working poor. However, natural hazards and climate extremes threaten the continuity of these businesses. Risk transfer approaches such as disaster microinsurance for small and informal businesses may be a viable option for building the resilience of these businesses against disaster and climate risks. 

The first day of the academy consisted of three sessions which highlighted the sub-national and regional views on urban resilience and risk transfer. The day ended with case studies presented by CBOs from Assam, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. Important issues highlighted during the day included:
Haphazard urbanization driving urban risks 
The impact of disasters on informal workers 
The significance of data on informal settlements (slums), possible areas of insurance collaboration between the government, insurance providers and NGOs
Viable areas of overlap between disaster microinsurance and urban resilience
Incentivizing insurance for small and informal businesses and workers
The role that risk transfer approaches have played in building urban resilience in Nepal and Sri Lanka

The second day of the academy consisted of sessions on the themes of small businesses and risk transfer; urban resilience, risk transfer and inclusion; planning and finance for urban resilience; and climate risk insurance beyond South Asia. The important issues deliberated upon included:
The indispensability of risk transfer mechanisms for small businesses and street vendors
The role disaster microinsurance can play in engendering inclusion and promoting the welfare of women
Disasters can be viewed as opportunities for sustainable and inclusive development through the promotion of grassroots women’s organizations
Tweaking insurance services and offerings to match the needs of the urban poor
Perspectives on disaster and climate risk microinsurance from Argentina, Brazil and France

The third and final day of the academy aimed at summing up the knowledge and experience shared by the participants during the previous two days. The lessons learnt from the academy were then located in the goals of macro policy instruments such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and recently ratified Climate Deal at the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21).


Dhubri Emergency Management Exercise, January 28, 2016, Assam

The Deputy Comissioner of Dhubri Mr. Nazrul Islam, aggresively and proudly delivered the speech of Chief guest while boasting of the proactive steps of ASDMA. He said that this five day long exercise exercise was targeted to change the mindset of the population towards pro-active steps in building up disaster preparedness and resilience in the district and beyond. .

 



Building youth leadership for Sustainable Development

The students from ‘Oxford Brookes University (UK)’ visited Gujarat to learn from long term recovery of Gujarat Earthquake. The All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, Ahmdabad is facilitated the study visit from January 3, 2016 to January 13, 2013. During 10 days of course, students were engaged in class room sessions, field visit to Patan, Kutch and Ahmedabad. Number of institutions were visited for interaction on long term recovery and other aspects related to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
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Youth in Bihar: Discuss Smart City

District Administration of Muzaffarpur District of Bihar with All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) organised a consultation with 115 youths of Muzaffarpur city on January 9, 2016. How to make Smart City, A Safe City? This question was on the discussion agenda.  The purpose of the consultation was to make youths aware of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in order to localize SFDRR at city level.

 


Youth’s perspectives on how to make Muzaffarpur “A Smart and Safe City” considering SFDRR priorities was considered.  Youths suggested to make citizens of their city aware about safety aspects of disaster risk, climate risk and conflict risk. Youth wanted to include their views on disaster management planning in their city and district planning. A yearlong activities are being planned with the Government of Bihar and the city authorities to let youth lead Smart city concept in Muzaffarpur.


8th South-South Citizenry Based Development sub-Academy (SSCBDA)

The regional office of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) organized the ‘8th South-South Citizenry Based Development sub-Academy (SSCBDA)’ at Ahmedabad, Gujarat from 11-13 January 2016.<

 


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The 8thSSCBDA was organized on the theme of ‘Building Urban Resilience through Risk Transfer: Protecting Small Business and Local Market Recovery’. This year a total of 37 participants from 8 countries and 6 Indian states participated in the academy which had been organized by the AIDMI.

This academy provided the perfect platform for several leaders, practitioners, students and members of various community based organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to share their experience and knowledge of reducing risks in their communities and learn from the experience and knowledge of others.

Learning Statement from the 8th South-South Citizenry Based Development Academy on Building Urban Resilience: Risk Transfer and Insurance


Assessing Floods Impact on Small Businesses – the Case of Cuddalore

The innovation is a small business disaster microinsurance programme to enhance recovery of local markets that play a critical role in providing goods and services to disaster-affected populations in urban settings.

Climate change has gradually emerged as a major challenge for developing countries like India where large scale climate variability exposes the country to enhanced climate risks.

 


As the world gathered at Paris to negotiate a better climate deal for saving the world, record breaking rainfall wreaked havoc in Tamil Nadu, giving a visual