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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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Seek new financial sources for NDMD, improving the existing mechanisms and • implementing projects that are able to attract technological and/or financial support through international agencies and/or bilateral cooperation;

Implement activities to reduce natural disasters through international partnerships • with the objective to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the area of disaster risk reduction;

Foster studies and research on disasters and implement scientific and technological • developmental projects related to disaster risk reduction;

Develop implementation plans and legislations related to disaster risk reduction.

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3.2.1 Strategies for the Sector To date, intervention in disaster risk management sector has been focused only on emergencies and mostly reliant on foreign assistance. Interventions have related to disaster mitigation, targeting vulnerable populations and the most needy communities.

At the current time, it is necessary to establish an strategic framework that can give direction for improvement and sustainability in service delivery in disaster risk management including effective cooperation with key partners.

It is necessity to develop specific strategies for disaster risk management at district, subdistrict and suco levels. It is also important to develop sustainable training programs for disaster risk management specialists and managers and capacity building programs in disaster risk management sector for public servants.

As a consequence, there is a necessity to respond to four main objectives related to disaster

risk management as follows:

Develop and maintain legislation on disaster risk reduction concurrently to assure its • integration into development policies, plans, and projects, in the study phase as well as in the implementation phase;

Develop and maintain early warning systems, monitoring, coordination, and • operational preparation plans and response for the national territory concurrently attending to structural development limitations at the national level;

Improve management of the DRM sector in all institutional and operation levels • concurrently, to take into account the low professional capacity of staff;

Achieve sustainability in public finance to respond to a great need for resources.

• To move forward within a framework of limited resources, MSS propose that in the medium term, the following priorities of the National Development Plan and Five Year Development

Program of the Ministry relating to DRM be attended to:

1. Promote the study and identification of risks zones;

2. Expansion of mechanisms of early warning in the country relating to potential national disasters, and development of human, technical and scientific, and physical resources of the Ministry;

3. Develop and maintain national meteorological and seismographic monitoring and early warning services;

4. Improve management capacity and intervention conditions from Suco to districts level.

Base on these priorities and having taken into consideration the sub-sectors of disaster risk management, it is possible to implement strategic policies and priorities and achieve results in the medium-term i.e 2012.

3.2.2 Integrated Hazard, Vulnerability and risk Analysis to Action Systems (Early Warning) Capacity and vulnerability analysis provides knowledge and understanding to communities, government and other agencies about hazards and communities’ capacities to respond. The vulnerabilities of communities (e.g. poor people living on unstable slopes, in flood-prone areas, or in soil liquefaction hazard areas) are analysed so that appropriate risk reduction can be undertaken.

Hazards of various types (see Annex 4) need to be analysed and monitored, both in terms of their individual effects and also their possible cumulative effects if more than one impacts at the same time (such as flooding at the same time as an earthquake) or if a particular hazard impacts over a long period of time (such as recurrent drought). Hazard analysis and monitoring provide relevant authorities with the information they need to issue an early warning, activate plans already developed, and anticipate the deployment of emergency management teams in the early hours of an impact of a hazard agent (such as a tropical storm or flood).

At community level, local experience and preparedness enables community members to act as first responders immediately after the impact of a hazard agent. Thus, priority should be given to community based capacity building to strengthen existing locally developed coping strategies.

To comply with the guidelines and achieve the defined goals in disaster risk reduction,

following are the specific policies: Specific Policy 1: Hazard and Vulnerability Monitoring and Analysis Monitoring is a responsibility of all government and non-government sectors. The NDMD is supporting various sectors to carry out capacity development activities. While some sectors such as the Ministry of Health and PNTL have established national to community monitoring systems, many sectors require significant technical development support to establish effective communications between communities, community groups, NGOs, District Administrations and government at national level.

The NDMD is responsible for receiving, analysing, integrating, interpreting, distributing and coordinating national hazard, vulnerability and risk monitoring data. This information is then used to advise government and non-government sectors in relation to appropriate disaster/emergency preparedness, response, and recovery and reduction measures. The NDMD has already established the Disaster Management Information System (DMIS), which has a number of GIS hazard maps for Timor-Leste’s common natural hazards. The disaster database named Desinventar allows data on hazard type, damage caused and mortality and morbidity to be recorded by disaster event. Specific Policy 2: Regional Early Warning Monitoring and Analysis

Early warning systems can be extremely effective in saving lives and property and protecting the vulnerable when natural hazards threaten. However, many countries do not have early warning systems in place, and warning systems too often fail at times of crisis. At the international level, the International Early Warning Programs (IEWP) is comprised of early warning activities coordinated by the UN sponsoring organisations such as UNESCO.

Sources of early warning information available include the following:6

Humanitarian Early Warning Service (HEWS) developed by WFP is a global multi hazard watch service (www.hewsweb.org).

Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation program of the World Meteorological • Organisation (WMO) provides information on disaster activities, research programs and weather and climate events (www.wmo.int/disasters).

Global Information and Early Warning Systems (GIEWS) of the Food and • Agriculture Organisation (FAO) provides information on food production, food security, commodities assessment and pests (www.fao.org/giews/english/index.htm).

Division of Early Warning and Assessment of the United Nations Environment • Programs (UNEP) provides analysis of global and regional trends to provide policy advice and early warning information on environmental threats (www.unep.org/dewa).

International Tsunami Information Centre established by UNESCO is an Hawaii based centre that supports Pacific members states to establish and maintain tsunami early warning systems (http://ioc.unesco.org/itsu/).

Severe weather warnings and routine weather forecasts for Timor-Leste are available temporarily through the Australian Defence Force from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Regional Forecasting Centre in Darwin. The NDMD monitors weather as well as extreme climate conditions to reduce the impact of seasonal hazards, drought and forest fires.

Currently, a Tsunami Watch Information for the Indian Ocean is available to Timor-Leste through the Japan Meteorological Agency in coordination with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the information is available to NDMD and other Ministries. The warning is expected to be issued with a target of less than 20 to 30 minutes after the occurrence of the earthquake depending on the condition of communication and the availability of seismic data. Specific information will be relayed, including the estimated tsunami travel times to reach the respective coasts of the countries in the Indian Ocean region (only for the earthquake of M7.0). After a warning has been received, it is important to communicate the risk to the population without causing panic.

NDMD is supporting the GTL to respond to the needs of the development of emergency metrology and long-term, to be available for government, NGOs and communities.

Meteorology is a vital scientific aspect for monitoring and early warnings, particularly in conditions of complex topography and climatology such as exist in Timor-Leste.

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The key to achieving effective response from participating organisations and the community is to have reliable and effective warning and alert systems in place. Advice of a developing

hazard or of the occurrence of a disaster will come from either of two main sources:

Official source (e.g. geological or meteorological international agencies, NDMD, • DOC, PNTL, F-FDTL, District Administrators, UN Agencies); or Unofficial sources, such as the church or other members of the public.

• Any official or other person becoming aware that a disaster or major emergency has occurred should report the situation to the nearest District Administrator, Sub-District Administrator, police officer, civil security officer or fire service officer. Contact details for all these points should be widely promulgated to departments, agencies and the public throughout the country.

Police officers, civil security officers and fire service officers should pass reports of a disaster or major emergency to the relevant District Administrator or Sub-District Administrator. It is the responsibility of the Sub-District Administrator (as Sub-District Disaster Coordinator) and the District Administrator (as District Disaster Coordinator) on receiving an unofficial report, to verify its accuracy. Once verified, the District Administrator or Sub-District Administrator will report to the DOC and NDMD. If receiving an unofficial report directly, the NDMD should advise the relevant District Administrator and ask for the report to be verified.

When there is advance warning of the likely impact of a hazard or when a disaster has occurred, it is the responsibility of the DOC to ensure that timely and appropriate warning messages are broadcast to the public advising of the degree of threat and action that should be taken. When the threat has abated, information will be passed to the public as well as to any search and rescue and recovery efforts that are underway.

Departments and organisations should assist in this communication process by ensuring that all relevant information is forwarded to the DOC and NDMD. In addition, all disaster management focal points in the districts should ensure that they are contactable at all times and particularly after normal working hours. Personal mobile phones should be kept charged and turned on at all times.

Annex 6 provides details of the National Activation System (Alerts, Stand By, Activation and Stand Down) and Annex 10 provide a list of contacts. Details of warning systems and community alerting systems are yet to be fully developed.

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The objective of early warning is to empower individuals and communities threatened by hazards to act in sufficient time and in an appropriate manner so as to reduce the possibility of personal injury, loss of life and damage to property or the environment. Risk assessment provides the starting point for an effective warning system. This knowledge is essential for policy decisions that translate warning information into effective preventive action.

The responsibility for effective early warning spans from local to international levels, each

level having essential but partially overlapping functions:

Vulnerable populations need to be aware of the hazards and the related effects to • which they are exposed and be able to take specific actions to minimise the threat of loss or damage;

• Local communities need to have sufficient familiarity with the hazards to which they are exposed;

• Community leaders must understand the advisory information received to be able to advise, instruct or engage the population in a manner that increases their safety or reduces the possible loss of resources on which the community depends;

• The government needs to exercise responsibility to prepare and issue hazard warnings for its national territory in a timely and effective manner;

• The government should ensure that warnings and related protective guidance are directed to those populations determined to be most vulnerable to the hazard risk;

• The provision of support to local communities to develop knowledge and response capabilities is an essential function to translate early warning knowledge into risk reduction practices.

Problems relating to warning systems may include7:

• Inadequate timing of warning;

• Inadequate warning lead-time;

• Errors in warning information;

• Faults in warning systems for technical reasons;

• Delays in transmission of warning to key officials or organisations;

• Failure of public warning systems (e.g. radio broadcast stations) due to the impact of the hazard; and

• Failure of people to respond to warnings 3.2.3 Emergency Management The Joint National Disaster Operation Centre (DOC) will have a critical role in assisting

agencies/partners and coordinating emergency actions which will include:

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