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«National Disaster Risk Management Policy March 2008 Dili, Timor-Leste FORWARD Because of its geography Timor-Leste is vulnerable to disasters caused ...»

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If a community at the village level is unable to meet disaster management needs, help should be sought from the sub-district administration. In turn, the sub-district may seek assistance from the district if it also lacks the resources to meet a need. Further he District Administration may seek national assistance when its resources cannot meet a need. If the government has reached the limit of its capacity to deal with significant events, assistance may be sought from the international community in-country and or externally.

Risk management of responses to emergencies is based on the principle that response activity should be planned well in advance during the preparedness phase including analysis and early warning. A Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction displays the various disasterdevelopment measures that will reduce further risks, such as land use planning in safe areas, building codes and protection of critical facilities such as chemical/power installations. The sharing of knowledge and dissemination of risk information is an essential component for protection of the civil society.

1.4.3 Risk Communication to the Public

The risk management process cannot be successful without a plan for providing and receiving information to and from the public and such end-to-end systems need to be established and effectively functioning well before an emergency occurs. Communication systems must include all effective and appropriate mediums such as AM/FM radio and television broadcasts, print, multi-media, phone, UHF/VHF radio, public announcement systems such as police, CVTL, community volunteers and religious institutions. This Policy recognises that communications is central to effective disaster and conflict analysis to actions systems and those end-to-end systems must be streamlined between communities, District Administrations, Central Government, NGOs, CVTL, regional and global partners.

Clear advice should be given on how the alarm will be raised and what to do if that happens.

A well-constructed media plan is essential, both as part of the pre-incident education process, and to avoid overreaction after an incident. It must contain explicit and exhaustive instructions on channels of communication and clearance procedures for potentially sensitive information. Of course, any public preparedness or information programs needs to be evaluated in the context of the specific local circumstances, including the possibility that too much information may be counterproductive, or even dangerous.

The media, NGOs, CVTL, community volunteers, and community based Government services are critical partners that will govern the degree of success of communication systems. As the state, partners and communities establish risk analysis to action systems;

special legislation will be required for disaster and conflict communications for measures such as emergency broadcasts for emergencies and mitigation of disaster and conflict threats.

The Government’s approach to legislation in this area could allow media agencies to be selfregulated or require that as part of the licensing process, agencies participate in professional development such as hazard specific, meteorology, climate, emergency, disaster, conflict and climate change training.

Communication gaps in Timor-Leste possess significant challenges to the effective management of disasters, conflict and climate change adaptation. Analysis of emergencies, disasters and conflict since 1999 reveals a pattern reliance on committees whose capacity to communicate effectively is limited. Often, the degree of impact of disasters and conflict and in some cases the root cause can indirectly or partly be attributed to uninformed decisions and the spread of miss-information. As important as this Policy to developing effective communication systems is the need to have available appropriate communications mediums that can survive impact and to produce information that effectively reaches communities and is appropriate for literacy and numeracy levels and the local language context.

The underlying idea in risk reduction is to minimise vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout a society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) the adverse impacts of hazards, within the broad context of sustainable development.

1.4.4 The Social, Economic and Environmental Context of Disaster Risk Reduction Framework This Policy aims to be consistent with accepted risk reduction strategies that will considerably reduce social and economic losses caused by natural and human-induced disasters such as technological hazards and conflicts.

Human development issues are related to disaster risk management. Economic, social and environmental elements of human and national security are interdependent and overlapping.

Economic, social and environmental factors are shaped, retarded and sometimes accelerated by disaster and conflict. They also work directly or indirectly to decrease or increase disaster, conflict and climate change risk.

The essential points adopted in this Policy cover:

a) A necessary shift in managing disasters from a traditional manner – emergency assistance or crisis management – to disaster, conflict and climate change risk reduction strategies;

b) The general framework and activities of disaster risk management;

c) Integration and mainstreaming of disaster, conflict, climate change and adaptability across all sectors through economic, social and environmental national recovery and development;

d) A focus on strengthening community capacities and reducing vulnerabilities;

e) Integration of a gender perspectives;

f) The need for attention to be given to children and youth in disaster risk management Women died in larger numbers than men in most of the countries affected by the December 2004 tsunamis. The reason given was that mothers tried to protect their children and often did not know how to swim and stay afloat. Children also died in large numbers. Many had not had risk management education, and this may have contributed to the high mortality rate.

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2.1 The Vision for the Disaster Risk Management Sector The Ministry of Social Solidarity (MSS) has the following goal in the Disaster Risk

Management sector:

“We wish for a protected social environment that is safe and clean, in order to contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of our country.”

2.2 The Mission of the Ministry of Social Solidarity The mission of MSS “Within the context of the National Vision for the Management of Risk Disasters, MSS has the leading role in defining the policies on disasters management at all levels. In so doing, MSS will develop a strong government institution which ensures the protection and support to the community and their goods and the environment.”

2.3 Main objectives of Disaster Risk Management The right to life is recognized by the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of TimorLeste. It is the mandate of the National Disaster Management Directorate (NDMD) to guarantee this right in circumstances of disasters.

The general objective of NDMD is to reduce the risk of disasters. Reducing the risks of disasters is obtained through the diminishment of the occurrences of disasters.

Internationally a focus on “reduction” was chosen because the action “eliminate” was deemed to be an unachievable objective.

Disaster reduction actions consist of the following global aspects:

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In this context, MSS will concentrate on the following main objectives during the period of 2008 to 2012:

• Acting as Timor-Leste’s centre for disaster risk reduction activities and knowledge, collecting information, monitoring overseas developments and proposing developments for incorporation into the national disaster risk reduction system;

Promoting permanent defence and safety against natural and or human-induced • disasters;

Preventing and minimizing the impact of disasters, assisting affected populations, • rehabilitating and assisting with recovery for areas affected by disasters;

Developing strategies in disaster risk reduction including preparedness activities such • as response plans, standard operational procedures and assisting in district planning;

Creating human resource capacities to use meteorological and seismic analysis, • monitoring, early warning tools and systems;

Developing appropriate physical infrastructure for monitoring and communication of • meteorological and climate conditions;

Securing studies for technical and scientific experts and students at national and • international levels in the areas of meteorology and seismology;

Administering and providing secretariat support to the Inter-Ministerial Commission • for Prevention of Natural Disasters (CIGD);

Establishing and sustaining links to hazard, vulnerability, disaster and conflict risk • assessment and monitoring in the region, and interpreting and providing early warning and strategic intervention planning in relation to developments that may affect TimorLeste;

Acting as the contact point for initial reports of emergencies and disasters in • conjunction with the Disaster Operations Centre (DOC);

Coordinating disaster risk management including scheduling of regular meetings of • stakeholders;

Organising and leading multi-sector damage and needs assessment teams during • response operations and exercises when necessary;

Developing and conducting public information and awareness programs in • cooperation with other relevant agencies;

Developing disaster risk reduction and emergency response training programs in • conjunction with relevant partners;

Maintaining and developing a national disaster and conflict crisis risk management • information system engaging with community to international regional hazard, vulnerability, risk mapping systems;

Developing information and communications technology disaster and crisis • management systems across all sectors;

Maintaining, reviewing and developing the former National Disaster Risk • Management Plan (NDRMP) as a disaster and crisis risk management operational plan including ministerial and non-government sector operational plans and hazard, vulnerability, risk standard operational procedures.

Advising the Government on sector development policies, strategies and legislation • related to disaster risk management; and Administering a national regional strategic stockpile of disaster response resources.

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The following principles will guide the formulation and implementation of the Policy, plans,

activities and programs for disaster risk management:

Partnership with communities to protect the life of all Timorese citizens;

• All Timorese have the right to international standards of human security balanced • with sustainable economic, social and environment recovery and development;

In partnership with communities, civil society and international partners, the • government will develop all hazards, vulnerability and risk action to analysis systems for the Nation to manage the risk of disasters, climate change and conflict crisis;

Focus on vulnerable populations, with emphasis on prevention, early recovery and • integration into the development processes;

Efficiency and effectiveness, to maximise the benefit of the available resources;

• Participation and engagement, especially with national, regional and international • partners, civil society and the population in the remote areas and vulnerable groups;

Transparency and responsibility, especially in relation to the distribution and use of • resources, as well as the implementation of authority, power and decision making;

Sustainability, considering the limitation of resources in the country and the high • dependency on partners and external donors; and Partner with communities to build resilience to emergencies, disasters, conflict, • climate change and dependencies on state and partner assistance for human and national security.

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The Ministry instigates the following general policies in disaster risk management sector:

Ensure, through the National Disaster Management Directorate (NDMD), that disaster • risk is reduced in the territory of Timor-Leste;

Implement the organisation and the functioning of the Suco Commissions, or relevant • bodies, emphasizing the necessity and the importance of an articulated and timely response, by local bodies;

Support the districts and sub-districts to implement disaster risk reduction plans with • the aim of guaranteeing the reduction of disasters in the communities;

Promote the arrangements of urban space with the aim to minimise the unorganised • occupation of disaster risk areas, with the aim to reduce vulnerabilities of urban and rural areas against landslides, floods and other disasters;

Establish criteria related to risk assessment and risk evaluation, with the aim to direct • disaster risk reduction planning in the most vulnerable areas of the country;

Prioritize actions related to disaster prevention, through evaluation and disaster risk • reduction;

Implement interaction between government agencies and local communities, • especially through District, Sub-District and Suco Commissions, with the objective to guarantee and integrate response activities for the whole country;

Implement cultural change and training for volunteers programs using participatory • approach involving communities, so they are well informed, prepared and conscious of their rights and obligations in relation to community protection from disasters;

Promote the integration of the National Disaster Risk Management Policy into other • national policies, especially socio-economic development and environmental protection policies;

Establish a National Information System on Disaster Risk Management in Timor Leste and promote epidemiology studies, related to the intrinsic characteristic of the impact of disasters on human, materials and environment and economic and social damages;

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