Disaster management is a critical challenge faced by Malaysia. The country was just shaken by major flooding events that took place nationwide in late 2010 as well as early 2011. In addition to the loss of lives and dislocation of thousands of people, the country needs to make large expenditure on response measures particularly for rescue, transfer and relocation of victims, rehabilitation of infrastructure and subsequent long-term recovery efforts. Despite the importance of such actions by the Government, it is also critical to ensure adequate attention is given on the planning process and disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities. DRR is a tool for the Government to fulfil its responsibility to the people. Past experience has shown that the most effective approach to DRR is to empower stakeholders at the local level in policy planning process and risk minimisation activities.
The Disaster Awareness Day 2011 was held on 18-19 February 2011 in Melaka to raise public awareness on disaster risks as well as to promote commitment among country leaders, decision makers and local authorities towards government efforts in disaster management and DRR. The programme, themed as “Enhance National Resilience through Disaster Risk Reduction”, was organised by the National Security Council of Malaysia (MKN) with cooperation from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Institute (SEADPRI-UKM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia to support the efforts of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the ASEAN Secretariat.
The programme was closed by Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin MohdYassin, who announced the nomination of Kuala Lumpur City, Melaka and Putrajaya as the Role Models with regards to the country’s participation in the “Resilient Cities: My City is Getting Ready” as well as appointing Hon. Chief Minister of Melaka as the Champion of this campaign. With our participation in the international campaign, the Deputy Prime Minister hoped that otherCity Mayors and administrators of local governments across the country would be encouraged to learn from the good practice of the Role Model cities.
As a result of the programme, the participants adopted the “Melaka Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Malaysia 2011”. The Declaration calls upon national, state and local stakeholders to advocate, lead and champion actions on the; national mechanism for disaster management; role of local authorities for DRR; mainstreaming of DRR in education and; keeping schools and hospitals safe from disasters. While reaffirming the country’s commitments towards international and regional activities, the need to establish a national platform and comprehensive legal framework for disaster management in Malaysia is underlined. Integration of climate change adaptation, including implementing the National Policy on Climate Change has been recognised in order to address the changing nature of disaster risk as the consequences of climate variability and change.
This policy brief summarises key mesages and recommendations culminated from the programme. It covers several aspects on DRR including the national mechanism for disaster management, the role of local authorities, mainstreaming DRR in education as well as rasing awareness and building resilience of schools and hospitals against disasters. The policy brief aims to draw attention on the critical importance of DRR in disaster management and contribute to the Government efforts at all levels in keeping our cities safe from disasters.
Melaka Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Malaysia 2011 – Melaka Declaration