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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 ...»

-- [ Page 5 ] -- Specific Policy on Safe Refuges and Evacuation Plans Village committees, as part of their preparedness for disasters and major emergencies, should identify safe refuges from floods and other hazards and safe routes to these refuges. The Carter, N/ADB (1992). Disaster Management: a disaster manager’s handbook. Manila. Page 248.

decision to use these refuges must be made at the local level since it is unlikely that there will be enough information even at sub-district level to instruct people to evacuate to refuges. The identification of locations that can be used as evacuation centres is the responsibility of District Administrators working with community leaders during disaster preparedness. The public should be informed of the location of shelters and the conditions under which they will be made available as a threat develops. The location of shelters, management responsibilities and location of any keys required should be documented and made available to relevant officials as a threat develops. Arrangements should be made for the provision of support to the shelters, although it is suggested that users should be encouraged to be self-sufficient for the first few days of use. Education/public information programs should not only identify the locations of shelters, but also inform the community of the self-sufficiency requirements for food, water, bedding, medicines and toiletries.

For Dili, NDMD has developed a preliminary evacuation plan in cooperation with the PNTL, Fire Services and Civil Security. In this preliminary plan, the main evacuation meeting point for Dili is the central market and the main agencies involved are MSS, Ministry of Health, PNTL and F-FDTL. Detailed evacuation routes, dissemination of those routes to the public and responsible partners’ organisations to conduct evacuations need to be developed. Specific Policy on Post-Disaster Survey

Organised surveys are a very effective way of collecting standardised information on the impact of a disaster. Survey teams, preferably with members from a range of different sectors, should be deployed to the affected area as soon as possible after the event. Annex 7 provides standard forms for Flash Reports and Initial Reports. Copies of standard forms should be held at national, district and sub-district level ready for use in an emergency.

Standard instructions for survey teams should be available with the forms. If required, the results of a survey can be passed by radio using the numbers on each section of the forms as a guide. Rapid aerial surveys can provide a useful overview of the situation after a disaster and may be valuable in preparing for response, but are not an adequate substitute for a planned survey. Specific Policy on International Assistance

Requests for international assistance including foreign military support of the Asian Regional Forum (ARF) will only be submitted when it has become clear that there are needs that cannot be met from national resources, NGOs and other agencies already present in the country. Requirements for international assistance will be determined by the CIGD, which will submit requests through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The DOC will be responsible for providing detailed information on needs and reception arrangements to assist donors to meet requests as quickly and effectively as possible. All departments and organisations that require international assistance must submit their needs to the DOC and NDMD for consideration. Under no circumstances should direct requests be made to aid agencies/donors or diplomatic missions.

All donors will be required to register all capital and human assistance with the NDMD Supply Management System (SUMA). Coordination of international assistance can impose a heavy additional workload on a response. Assistance with this coordination can be obtained from the United Nations, which has United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams of experienced disaster managers on constant alert. This should only be viewed as a last resort, as it provides little capacity development opportunity. However, UNDAC can assist through UNOCHA, UNDP and other UN system international appeals for assistance to the government. UNDAC can activate a team and send to the affected country within 24 hours, if there is transport available. Request for this type of team can be made through the NDMD to CIGD and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation to the Representative of Secretary General of the United Nations in Timor-Leste.

3.2.4 Customs, Immigration and Quarantine

Once an official request for international assistance has been submitted, the Ministry of Finance is to be advised by Ministry of Social Solidarity to make the necessary arrangements for “Disaster Management Assistance Endorsed by the NDMD.” This will include duty exemption for goods purchased locally with disaster relief funding and clearance for agricultural and hazardous material imports.

The NDMD or DOC is responsible for providing information on donor assistance to Border Services to facilitate this process. This includes details of the type, quantity, source, means of transportation, arrival point, estimated time of arrival and whether or not the assistance is Disaster “Management Assistance Endorsed by the NDMD.”

3.2.5 Financial Considerations

At the National level, the Central Fiscal Authority (Treasury) holds the responsibility for the management of disaster relief funds, and must authorise the expenditure of such funds in the event of a disaster, through a request by the National Disaster Coordinator (NDC). At the district level, the District Administrator, as District Disaster Coordinator (DDC), should ideally have access to a small contingency account that can be used for emergency response purposes.

Urgent requests for procurement of vitally needed supplies or services for disaster response purposes can be made directly to the Head of Treasury, or Deputy Head, who will arrange urgent allocation of funds from the contingency account and accelerated procurement.

Accounts charged to the disaster relief fund that have not been approved by the CIGD and processed in accordance with Finance Regulations will be returned for payment to the department, organisation or individual that incurred the costs. This procedure will ensure that the limited available funds are committed to high priority requirements, and will avoid unnecessary expenditure on items that may already be available from other sources.

3.3 Priority Actions

To fulfil the promises, the Ministry will promote the following actions:

3.3.1 Awareness Raising The CIGD with assistance from NDMD is responsible for providing advice to the Ministers and Secretariat’s responsible for assisting NDMD to identify, develop and implement

national public education and awareness programs. Target audiences should include:

• Vulnerable groups, such as women, children, the aged, widows, returnees, refugees, religious and ethnic minorities and those in hazard-prone areas;

• Community leaders;

Rural families and village communities;

• Urban families;

• District officials and District Disaster Management Committees;

• National Disaster Risk Management Committee members;

• Other key officials and decision makers;

• Non-governmental organisations; and • Diplomatic and donor community.

• The content of public education and awareness programs will vary according to the target audience, the threats and the areas in which they are undertaken. The media used to present the programs should be selected after consideration of the target audience and the acknowledged way of communicating effectively and sustainable with that audience. Media and language appropriate to one audience may be less effective with a different audience.

Options considered should include the following:

• Production of posters, brochures and warning maps;

• Radio/television - pre recorded messages, interviews and discussion programs;

• Newspaper articles, advertisements and lift-outs;

• Official briefing sessions for officials;

• Development of educational material for use in schools;

• Visits to schools and villages by theatre groups and video presentation teams;

• Village and community meetings;

• VCD community presentations;

• Production of posters, pamphlets and hazard maps.

Although day-to-day public awareness and education activities will be managed by the NDMD, a specialised working group may be established to plan specific campaigns. The

group could include representatives from the following organisations:

Ministry of Social Solidarity;

• National Disaster Management Directorate;

• National Directorate for Environment • National Directorate for Territorial Administration;

• Timor-Leste National Police;

• National Directorate for Transport and Communications • National Directorate for Public Work;

• Ministry of Education and Culture;

• Red Cross Timor-Leste;

• Women’s Networks; and • Other specialised institutions in accordance with the needs (e.g. representative of • religious groups professional institutions).

District Administrators will be responsible for supporting the awareness and education programs by identifying special requirements for their area, disseminating material, and conducting visits to ensure that villagers are familiar with the material and are aware of preparedness measures which must be taken.

In both technological and natural disasters, how the press conveys information to the public can magnify or reduce psychosocial distress for the “at risk” population. There are certain key principles that are often applicable to both types of disaster. Threat of an impending natural disaster and threat of contamination by a chemical, biological or nuclear emission all cause anxiety. The role of the press in increasing or reducing perceived or real fear is critical.

Frightening news, if repeated many times to a community can magnify fears, leading to widespread stress and anxiety. This can be manifested in many forms and can ultimately impair decision-making processes, causing people to take wrong mitigation measures to protect themselves.

People who are not physically affected by a catastrophe, but who live within range of potential, possibly long-term and largely unknown dangers may be frightened by both proximity to the danger and the lack of credible information. To a large extent, the degree of fear and insecurity due to the lack of credible information will determine people’s attitudes and overall behaviour.

Communication of public risk must use a variety of techniques in dealing with the press and the public. For example, news releases will provide the press with the basic facts about an emergency, but these will often be incomplete. The exchange of information between interested parties will allow for more informed decisions. Therefore in a public crisis situation, the local, national, and international partners should all cooperate with the press to keep the general public accurately informed. The local media was recently trained in how to broadcast risk messages in an workshop sponsored by ADPC and NDMO.

Communication of emergency information should consider the following:

Media should receive information on risks reduction. Information should be • controlled by a single public spokesperson who openly cooperates with the press;

The press should also convey information on risk reduction and safety measures to be • adopted by the public;

The spokesperson should be truthful and straightforward with the press in order to • maintain credibility and trust;

The spokesperson should be clear about what is not known, as misconceptions are • likely to lead to inappropriate responses by the press, the public and other partners in an emergency response.

3.3.2 Recovery and Knowledge Development

Recovery is a term used to describe the often-complex series of measures that result in both rehabilitation and reconstruction taking place. Rehabilitation encompasses measures taken after a disaster to begin restoring community life to normal by beginning the repair of essential services and environmental, social and economic damage. Recovery is a process by which communities and the country are assisted in returning to a proper level of functioning following a disaster. Depending on the severity of damage, the recovery process may take many months or, in the worst case, many years to complete. This aspect of disaster management is best tackled using established government procedures and in close cooperation with development projects and programs. Disaster officials can assist in recovery processes through providing damage assessment reports, making recommendations for recovery activities, conducting a post-disaster review and organising operational debriefings. Damage Assessment Reports and Recovery Activities

District Administrators are responsible for preparing a full report on the impact of the disaster to the National Disaster Coordinator (NDC) within two weeks of the end of major response operations. These reports will be added to a similar report prepared by the DOC covering the national aspects of the damage.

The NDC, after considering the damage assessment reports, may recommend to the CIGD

one of the following options for managing a recovery program:

• The establishment of a recovery program management committee appointed by the CIGD. The composition of the committee will be determined by the nature of the disaster, and this committee will be responsible for managing the recovery program and ensuring that the CIGD is informed of the progress of recovery activities;

• Management by one Minister with a special temporary office or section acting on direction of the CIGD; and

• The CIGD itself providing direction to individual Ministers and their departments. Post-Disaster Review

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