- Japan: No Immediate Health Risks from Fukushima Nuclear Accident Says UN Expert Science Panel
- Japan: Habitat for Humanity Japan fits first panel in solar power project to support tsunami-affected families
- Japan: Kuwaiti donation saves Japan's tsunami-hurt children
- World: UN agency to open nuclear emergency preparedness centre in Fukushima
- Haiti: HRF Quarterly Update / No 6: Spring 2013
- Haiti: Bulletin d’information trimestriel du FRH numéro 6: Printemps 2013
- World: Linking Humanitarian and Nuclear Response Systems
- Japan: The Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster: a Compilation of Published Literature on Health Needs and Relief Activities, March 2011-September 2012
- World: Disaster-induced displacement worldwide in 2012
- Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami Operations Update n° 11
- Japan: Update: Two years since the tsunami
- China: East Asia (MAA54001) Annual Report 2012
- Japan: Singapore opens S$5m nursery school in Shichigahama
- World: Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Major Economic Crises
- World: Sharing this earth: on common ground - Annual Report 2012
- Bangladesh: Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction: Stories of Triumph from the Field
- Japan: Japan supports disaster risk management
- Myanmar: Asia-Pacific Region 10 - 16 April, 2013, Natural Disasters and Other Events being monitored by the OCHA Regional Office for the Asia-Pacific
- World: Leveraging Technology for Disaster Risk Management
- World: CredCrunch Newsletter, Issue 31, March 2013, “Disaster Data: A Balanced Perspective”
Relief Web News
Long Term Monitoring Key
VIENNA, 31 May (UN Information Service) - "Radiation exposure following the nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi did not cause any immediate health effects. It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers," concluded the 60 th session of the Vienna-based United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effect of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).
The effects of radiation exposure on humans and the environment following the accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 is one of the major issues being discussed at the Committee's annual session which started on Monday, 27 May. The second important issue is related to the short and long term effects of exposure to radiation on children. This covers medical as well as other kinds of exposure (not specifically related to the accident at Fukushima-Daiichi).
The report that is finally adopted by the Committee will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly when it meets later this year, and the scientific data and evaluation underpinning that report will be published separately.
Radiological impact of the Fukushima-Daiichi accident:
More than 80 leading international scientists have worked on analysing the information available on the levels and effects of exposure following the events of 11 March 2011 in Japan. Material they prepared was scrutinized by the 27 countries on the Scientific Committee at their annual session. When the Committee's report is published, it will be the most comprehensive international scientific analysis of the information available to date. "The experience from the 1986 Chernobyl accident has shown us that apart from any direct impact on physical health, the social and societal effects, and their associated health consequences in the affected population will need special attention in the coming years," said Carl-Magnus Larsson, Chair, UNSCEAR. "Families are suffering, and people have been uprooted and are concerned about their livelihoods and futures, the health of their children…it is these issues that will be the long-lasting fallout of the accident. At the same time, it is important to maintain a long-term medical follow-up for the exposed population, and in relation to certain diseases to provide a clear picture of their health status development."
The draft report was deliberated at length by the Committee, including more recent data received from Japan. Methodologies, assessments and doses were scrutinized in detail, and the Committee has made some recommendations that will be incorporated into the draft, which is now in the process of being finalized for presentation to the General Assembly. "The Report has the full confidence of the Committee," said Larsson.
On the whole, the exposure of the Japanese population was low, or very low, leading to correspondingly low risks of health effects later in life. The actions taken to protect the public (evacuation and sheltering) significantly reduced the radiation exposures that would have otherwise been received, concluded the Committee "These measures reduced the potential exposure by up to a factor of 10. If that had not been the case, we might have seen the cancer rates rising and other health problems emerging over the next several decades," said Wolfgang Weiss, Chair, UNSCEAR report on radiological Impact of the Fukushima-Daiichi accident.
The doses delivered for the two most significant radionuclides were quite different: doses to the thyroid mainly from iodine-131 ranged up to several tens of milligray and were received within a few weeks after the accident; the whole-body (or effective) doses mainly from caesium-134 and caesium-137 ranged up to ten or so millisieverts (mSv) and will be received over the lifetime of those exposed. The additional exposures received by most Japanese people in the first year and subsequent years due to the radioactive releases from the accident are less than the doses received from natural background radiation (which is about 2.1 mSv per year). This is particularly the case for Japanese people living away from Fukushima, where annual doses of around 0.2 mSv from the accident are estimated, arising primarily through ingestion of radionuclides in food.
No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers (including TEPCO employees and contractors) involved at the accident site.
Given the small number of highly exposed workers, it is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable. Special health examinations will be given to workers with exposures above 100 mSv including annual monitoring of the thyroid, stomach, large intestine and lung for cancer as a means to monitor for potential late radiation-related health effects at the individual level.
The assessment also concluded that although the rate of exposures may have exceeded the levels for the onset of effects on plants and animals several times in the first few months following the accident, any effects are expected to be transient in nature, given their short duration. In general, the exposures on both marine and terrestrial non-human biota were too low for observable acute effects. Potential exceptions are water plants, especially located in the area where radioactive water was discharged into the ocean. "At this point, we can say that there is a potential risk to some organisms in the areas of highest exposure, but it is difficult to quantify it in detail with the available information," said Malcolm Crick, Secretary, UNSCEAR (The UNSCEAR secretariat is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP). "The exposures of organisms in the environment are unlikely to cause anything more than transient harm to their populations," he added.
- UNSCEAR Report on Effects of Radiation Exposure of Children Because of anatomical and physiological differences, radiation exposure has a different impact on children compared with adults. The Committee had started a general review of these differences before the Fukushima-Daiichi accident; its conclusions on this subject are considered in this year's report to the General Assembly.
There are differences in the doses received by children and adults from exposure to the same distribution of radioactive material in the environment, for example, when there are elevated levels of radionuclides on the ground. Children can also receive significantly higher doses than adults in situations such as medical exposure if the technical settings are not adapted appropriately.
If radionuclides are ingested or inhaled, the presence of radionuclides in one organ can give higher radiation doses to others because the organs of children are in closer proximity to one another than those of adults. In addition, both the metabolism and physiology depend on age, which also affects the concentrations of radionuclides in different organs and thus the dose to those organs for a given intake.
After radiation exposure, children are clearly more radiosensitive for about 30 per cent of tumour types when compared with adults. These types include leukaemia and thyroid, skin and brain cancer. They have the same sensitivity as adults when it comes to 25 per cent of tumour types such as kidney and bladder, and are less sensitive than adults when it comes to 10 per cent of tumour types including lung cancer.
For effects that are bound to occur after high doses, the Committee concluded that as seen with carcinogenesis, there are some instances in which childhood exposure poses more risk than adult exposure (e.g. for effects in the brain, cataracts, and thyroid nodules). There are other instances where the risk appears to be about the same (e.g. neuroendocrine system and effects in the kidneys) and there are a few instances where children's tissues are more resistant (lung, immune system, marrow and ovaries). "More research is needed to fully understand the risks and effects following childhood exposure to radiation. This is necessary (and possible) because there are many individuals who were exposed as children (such as the survivors of the atomic bombings) who are still alive. Their experiences must not be lost," said Fred Mettler, Chair, UNSCEAR Report on Effects of Radiation Exposure on Children.
He added that the report was a valuable resource, as it is the first document that presents a comprehensive overview of the effect of radiation on children in totality.
Watch the webcast of the press briefing on 31 May at 13.30 pm at http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/webcast.html
The mandate of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), established in 1955, is to undertake broad reviews of the sources of ionizing radiation and the effects on human health and the environment. Its assessments provide a scientific foundation for United Nations agencies and governments to formulate standards and programmes for protection against ionizing radiation.
UNSCEAR has conducted a scientific evaluation of the levels and effects due to radiation exposure resulting from the Fukushima accident. It does not deal with or assess nuclear safety or emergency planning issues.
For further information, contact Jaya Mohan Communications, UNSCEAR Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4122 Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4122 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Japan: Habitat for Humanity Japan fits first panel in solar power project to support tsunami-affected families
First non-profit organization in Japan to help individual households harness benefits of feed-in-tariff
Bangkok, 31 May 2013: The first solar panel in Habitat for Humanity Japan’s pilot ‘Solar Home Recovery Project’ has been installed on the roof of the Hazawa family house.
As residents in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011 left the Hazawas with a damaged home and no livelihood. This solar panel will help the Hazawa household save on utility bills and generate income by selling excess electricity to their regional utility provider through Japan’s new ‘feed-in tariff’ (FIT) rebate scheme.
“I am just so thankful. I was interested in getting a solar power generation system for my house, but there was no way that I could afford it. With this support from Habitat, it is much easier for me to envisage, and be hopeful of, a better life and future”, said Mr. Kenichi Hazawa.
Habitat for Humanity is the first non-profit organization in Japan to offer this kind of opportunity to individual households. Supported by Hilti, with tools and a financial donation, the first phase of the pilot project will support an initial 13 families in Ofunato to mount solar panels to their roofs. Benefitting families have been selected on the basis of need, with a particular focus on inclusion of people with disabilities.
“As someone from the affected coastal area of Iwate Prefecture, I am proud to be a part of this project. The need for renewable energy is now higher than ever before the disaster. I hope this project will help bring about a positive change for the future of disaster-hit areas”, said Mr. Hisato Harako, President of Higashinihon Sorana, the solar power company providing and installing all the solar panels.
In the project’s second phase, solar panels will be installed at community centers where generated income would be used to fund revitalization ventures in the area.
To arrange interviews or receive high-res photography, please contact Heron Holloway, +65 9068 1892, email@example.com
On 1 July 2012, Japan’s ‘feed-in tariff’ regulations became operational, obligating its 10 regional power utility companies to buy electricity generated by wind and solar projects at a fixed rate of 38 Japanese Yen (JPY) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), approximately US$0.37 per kWh.
Habitat for Humanity estimates that households involved in the ‘Solar Home Recovery Project’ may save and earn more than JPY 1 million (approximately US$10,154) over ten years. This calculation is based on the amount saved in energy bills and income earned from the feed-in tariff scheme, and will vary according to the size of home and family. Family installation and feed-in tariff earnings have been calculated on the basis of the guidance provided by the Japan Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, and assumed use of a 3kW solar panel for a period of 10 years. Family savings have been calculated using estimates based on the current rate of the residential utility charges in Iwate Prefecture.
About Habitat for Humanity Japan
Habitat for Humanity Japan is the Japanese chapter of Habitat for Humanity International, and was incorporated in 2003. Habitat for Humanity Japan raises funds and sends hundreds of volunteers overseas to help build and repair homes for low-income families. Since 2011, Habitat for Humanity Japan has supported over 15,000 families under its disaster response relief program,. habitatjp.org
About Hilti (Hilti Corporation, Hilti Foundation)
Founded in 1941, the worldwide Hilti Group evolved from a small family company in the Principality of Liechtenstein. Some 22,000 employees in more than 120 countries around the world enthuse their professional customers with outstanding innovation, top quality products, system and services. The Hilti Foundation was established in 1996 as a charitable organization by the Martin Hilti Family Trust. The Martin Hilti Family Trust is the sole shareholder of the worldwide Hilti Group. Under its guiding principle “We build a better future”, the Foundation supports activities and projects focused on affordable housing, community development, social entrepreneurship, disaster relief, education and culture. Some of the work extends from deep sea research in the Alexandria, Egypt, to providing housing solutions for the underprivileged in Brazil, to operation of mobile clinic in Palestine, to supporting youth orchestras in Venezuela. hilti.com; hilti-foundation.org
About Hilti Japan
Hilti Japan offers powertools and materials for measuring, drilling and demolition. It also offers anchoring systems, firestop and foam systems for professional users in construction, civil engineering, electrical and installation industries in Japan. The company is committed to excellence in consulting on construction methods, total quality and anchoring. Founded in 1968, Hilti Japan has been serving Japanese construction professionals with outstanding innovations and services. hilti.co.jp
About Higashinihon Sorana
Higashinihon Sorana was founded in 2003 in Morioka city, Iwate prefecture. The company offers installation of solar panels and other services related to housing. They have three branches in the same prefecture and focused on community-based services.
Media Relations and Disaster Communications Manager, Asia-Pacific
Habitat for Humanity International · Asia-Pacific Satellite Office
56 Lorong 23 Geylang, #05-00, Century Technology Building, Singapore 388381
Tel: +65 6744 2768 · Mobile: +65 9068 1892 · Skype: heron.holloway
firstname.lastname@example.org · habitat.org/asiapacific | What will you build?
By Miyoko Ishigami
MORIOKA, Japan, May 29 (KUNA) -- With financial backing from Kuwait, a mental health care center for children who suffered psychological damage from the 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster was inaugurated in northeastern Japan on Wednesday.
Using a fund generated from Kuwait's USD two million donation through the Japanese Red Cross Society, the 800-sq-meter Iwate Children Care Center was built on the premises of Iwate Medical University in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture.
The grant was announced by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during his state visit to Tokyo March last year, on top of the initial donation of five million barrels of crude oil worth USD 500 million in 2011.
At an unveiling ceremony of Kuwait-Japan friendship memorial plate in the care center, Governor of Iwate Prefecture Takuya Tasso stressed on importance of creating a stable support system in the medium-and-long term for affected children that meets their changing demand according to their growth.
Considering 2013 as "Year of Accelerating the Reconstruction," the governor said his prefecture aims to proceed the reconstruction faster. Tasso also shed light on Kuwait's heart-warming encouragement and unstinting donation following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami, which left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing in northeastern Japan, with about 6,000 victims in Iwate alone.
"Kuwait's aid has been used for the establishment of this center, the restoration of the disaster-struck railway and various other reconstruction projects. On behalf of the people of Iwate, I would like to express once again our heartfelt gratitude to Kuwait," said Tasso.
For his part, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi voiced pleasure to witness Japan's another significant step on the recovery path from the destruction, to which the children of Iwate also fell victim.
"Because these children hold the key to the future of Iwate and Japan, nothing can be more urgent than addressing their needs and providing them with all the special care and support they require," Al-Otaibi said in his speech.
Thus, he lauded the initiative to establish the care center that bares "a tremendous responsibility to help brighten the children's lives, contribute to their well-being and help them overcome their tragedies in order to aspire for a better future."
The ambassador stressed that the government and people of Kuwait have committed themselves to standing by the Japanese people at their time of need and the future, based on the true friendship that binds the two countries, which was reconfirmed by HH the Amir during his visit to Japan last year upon the generous invitation by the Japanese Emperor.
"The donations offered by Kuwait in the aftermath of the disaster were just a small token of appreciation to the people of Japan for their historic stances in supporting Kuwait for more than five decades," he said.
"When we look back on the recovery efforts made since March 11, 2011, and despite the sadness at the great loss of so many lives and destruction, our hearts become filled with hope that full recovery is drawing near and that the northeastern region will rise again to become better than it was before," he added.
Mental care support for children who lost their families and friends in the disaster requires long term commitments. The center in Morioka will serve as a central office for the three local care centers in the prefecture's disastrous coastal areas, where the number of doctors and medical facilities for such support is limited, to treat children mentally hurt by the twin disasters. According to the Iwate prefectural government, as of February this year, about 670 affected children have visited regional care centers due to such health issues as uncertainty, insomnia and psychosomatic symptoms.
Speaking to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and Kuwait TV after the ceremony, President and CEO of Iwate Medical University Akira Ogawa thanked Kuwait for the assistance for running such a well-equipped facility, saying, "The memorial plate we unveiled today will be long remembered as a proof of bonds for the future between the peoples of the two countries."
As a hub of providing comprehensive support to affected children in Iwate, the center is also tasked with organizing training courses for support staff and related institutions, research for effective treatment as well as enlightenment activities. "We will provide a great deal of mental care to affected children in coping with their growth for the long run while seeking coordination with the regional branches," said Ogawa.
Last month, Al-Otaibi also visited Iwate's coastal city to attend a ceremony for the relaunch of the tsunami-damaged railway, which was also highly appreciated by the local people and drew large media attention. (end)
22 May 2013 – Experts from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are heading to Japan to launch an emergency preparedness and response centre in Fukushima, the coastal city devastated two years ago when a massive earthquake and tsunami set off meltdowns at a nuclear power plant.
The IAEA, supported by the Government of Japan, will designate a new Response and Assistance Network (RANET) Capacity Building Centre in Fukushima next week, according to a news release from the UN nuclear watchdog.
The Centre will be home to several IAEA activities aimed at enhancing emergency preparedness and response capacity, both in Japan and worldwide, in light of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant accident.
In March 2011, Japan was struck by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and forceful tsunami that killed more than 20,000 people in the eastern part of the country. The tsunami also slammed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, disabling cooling systems and leading to fuel meltdowns in three of the six units. The incident was reported to be the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Briefing the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna two months ago, Yukiya Amano, the Agency’s Director General, said it had been a challenging two years, especially for the people and Government of Japan, but also for the IAEA. “However, the worst elements of the accident are behind us and we are now in the post-accident phase.”
“The Agency continues to work hard to help Japan deal with the consequences of the accident. Member States are also making serious efforts to implement the lessons learned from this and from previous accidents,” noted Mr. Amano.
The RANET Centre will be part of that ongoing effort. A ceremony to mark the designation of the Centre will be held next week, on 27 May.
The Centre’s first activity, an IAEA RANET workshop, will start the following day, and conclude on 31 May. About 40 experts from 18 countries will participate in the workshop, which will involve a field exercise in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Agency’s news release.
Through RANET, the IAEA can mobilize the expert support and equipment to facilitate the provision of international assistance by request under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS ISSUE
HRF Financial Reserve increased to USD 99.78 million with additional USD 32.28 million for budget support (p.2)
HRF supports private sector development, particularly small and medium businesses (p.3)
Neighborhood Reconstruction Project relocates more than 10,000 people from « Parc Jean Marie Vincent » and « Pétion Ville club » camps (p.5)
16/6 Project has economic and social impact on communities (p.5)
Disaster Risk Reduction in the South Department Project closes (p.5)
HRF continues to play a significant role in Reconstruction Financing (p.4)
la Réserve Financière du FRH passe à 99.78 millions USD, avec 32.28 millions réservés pour l’appui budgétaire (p.2)
Le FRH appuie le développement du secteur privé, en particulier les petites et moyennes entreprises (p.3)
Le Projet de Reconstruction des Quartiers Défavorisés de Port-au-Prince reloge plus de 10 000 déplacés des Camps « Parc Jean Marie Vincent » et « Pétion Ville club » (p.5)
Le 16/6 a un impact économique et social important sur les communautés (p.5)
La Clôture du Projet de Réduction de la Vulnérabilité des Populations et des Infrastructures dans le Département du Sud (p.5)
Le FRH continue à jouer un rôle significatif dans le Financement de la Reconstruction (p.4)
The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 − as a consequence of the Great East Japan earthquake − triggered a broad reflection on the question of the response to nuclear emergencies. As part of this, the UN Secretary General asked the Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), to study ways to enhance the capacity of the organizations of the IASC.
This study and its recommendations reflect a broad consensus amongst the members of the humanitarian and nuclear emergency response communities, embodied, respectively, by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Sub-Working Group on Preparedness and by the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE). The study also acknowledges that many of the global-level issues identified in the United Nations system-wide study on the implications of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have already been addressed or are in the process of being addressed.
The study begins by providing a view of humanitarian crisis that incorporates both the definition of disaster (an event exceeding the capacity of the affected community or society to cope) and international humanitarian assistance (direct or indirect provision of goods and services to the affected population on the part of international actors). The study then considers the likely "humanitarian" consequences of a large-scale nuclear accident, identifying long-term mass population displacements as by far the most significant one. The study also reviews in some details the experience of the largest such events on record (particularly Chernobyl and Fukushima). Interestingly, hardly any of the many emergency response interventions by international organisations can be qualified as typical or traditional humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, as broadly confirmed by the respondent to an online survey, it is difficult to imagine that a country with civilian nuclear capacity would find itself in a position to request for the kind of large-scale international assistance that is typical of humanitarian operations.
A conclusion of the conceptual part of the study is therefore that, according to current terminology and to the way in which humanitarian operations are understood by the stakeholders, there is little ground to consider major nuclear accidents as humanitarian crises in the traditional sense. Furthermore, it would appear that, much like the case of the response to sudden-onset natural disasters, the overall scope of international assistance following nuclear accidents concentrates mainly around coordination and information management.
The study considers the many dimensions of the so-called human dimension of nuclear emergencies, identifying areas of possible involvement for international actors as the dissemination of information for the communities, de-stigmatisation and the promotion of community-based approaches.
Japan: The Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster: a Compilation of Published Literature on Health Needs and Relief Activities, March 2011-September 2012
To provide an overview of the health needs following the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster and the lessons identified.
The relevant of peer review and grey literature articles in English and Japanese, and books in Japanese, published from March 2011 to September 2012 were searched. Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and HMIC were searched for journal articles in English, CiNii for those in Japanese, and Amazon.co.jp. for books. Descriptions of the health needs at the time of the disaster were identified using search terms and relevant articles were reviewed.
85 English articles, 246 Japanese articles and 13 books were identified, the majority of which were experience/activity reports. Regarding health care needs, chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes were reported to be the greatest burden from the early stages of the disaster. Loss of medication and medical records appeared to worsen the situation. Many sub-acute symptoms were attributed to the contaminated sludge of the tsunamis and the poor living environment at the evacuation centres. Particularly vulnerable groups were identified as the elderly, those with mental health illnesses and the disabled. Although the response of the rescue activities was prompt, it sometimes failed to meet the on-site needs due to the lack of communication and coordination.
The lessons identified from this mega-disaster highlighted the specific health needs of the vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly and those with non-communicable diseases. Further research is needed so that the lessons identified can be incorporated into future contingency plans in Japan and elsewhere.
Period covered by this Operations Update: 1 January 2013 – 31 March 2013
Operations Update No. 11 captures the activities of the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET) over the past three months.
During this reporting period, the second anniversary of the disaster was commemorated. JRCS has completed a number of reconstruction projects, while many early recovery support programmes for displaced people have come to an end.
In Soma city, Fukushima Prefecture, the construction of two further communal permanent public housing communities for the elderly was completed in March, in addition to the first one, which was completed in July 2012.
In Yamada-machi, Iwate Prefecture, the construction of Osawa Nursery School was completed in the end of February. A completion ceremony was held in March. The construction of another nursery school and two after-class centres is scheduled to be in April and May respectively.
The construction and renovation project for Motoyoshi hospital in Miyagi was completed in March. JRCS supported part of the construction of the facilities, including staff residences and exterior construction. JRCS also provided 20 hospital beds, blood-pressure gauges, cardiograph equipment and other medical items. This hospital will provide medical services to approximately 21,000 patients per year.
Major progress was seen in the reconstruction of Shizugawa Hospital and Social Welfare Centre in Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture. The basic plan of these two facilities - aiming to provide integrated comprehensive health and social welfare services for the population of some 15,000 people in the town – has been approved by the municipality. Constructions are scheduled to start in February 2014, after completion of statutory planning procedures.
The project to provide a set of six electric household appliances sets to displaced families has now been closed, benefiting 133,183 households in total. The final distribution was completed in February. The appliances were distributed to 18,694 households in Iwate, 49,045 in Miyagi, 63,617 in Fukushima and 1,827 in other prefectures. The project was the largest within the JRCS recovery operation in terms of scope and budget. Generous donations from sister Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies enabled JRCS to help survivors and evacuees to start their life in temporary shelters with provision of these electric household appliances which form part of most Japanese households.
Community bus services provided by JRCS were handed over in March to local municipalities and public transportation services. The routes for evacuees from Okuma town will be taken over by the Okuma municipality. The route in Minamisanriku, Miyagi will be operated by public bus services from April.
In total, JRCS donated 18 school buses and the operation support services were completed in March. This project assisted many displaced children to commute between temporary schools and their families’ prefabricated/temporary housing.
Two years have passed since Japan’s Tohoku coast was ravaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Thousands of lives lost, hundreds of thousands of survivors left without shelter, and millions of dollars in monetary damage were left behind when the ocean waters retreated.
Much has changed in Japan in the past two years, yet much has painfully stayed the same in the tsunami zone. Mercy Corps assisted in the emergent aftermath of the disaster, and has continued to provide support for local small merchants, helping to revive the badly struggling local economies.
One year ago, on the eve of the one-year mark since the tsunami, I visited the devastated region. It very much looked like a war zone – struggling infrastructure, flattened dwellings and shell-shocked community. Amongst the grief and sadness, the local survivors showed determination to rebuild, step by step, their little towns.
Mercy Corps seized the opportunity to provide help in a way that would yield maximum impact. After all, it is the local merchants and service providers who are key to jumpstarting the local markets, providing jobs and restoring the once vibrant region.
Once the emergency response phase was over, people were in shelters and children back in schools, we asked ourselves, “How can we best invest these donor dollars into the community? What will yield maximum and long-term impact for these survivors?” Much like anywhere, the key to reviving this community was to jump-start its small business sector.
And so, in the past year, Mercy Corps, partnered with its generous donor NVIDIA to provide financial tools to small business owners, helping them re-open their doors, provide jobs within their community and restore badly needed flow of goods and services in this remote part of Japan. Their stories of survival and struggle are harrowing, but their spirit and dedication to resuming their lives and businesses are inspiring.
For instance, Ryota Nagashima – a bakery-owner from Minamisanriku, who lost everything in the tsunami. His passion was baking sweets, his products widely renowned in his town. While living in a temporary shelter, Mr. Nagashima spotted a bag of donated flour and immediately had an idea to make pancakes for his fellow shelter dwellers.
After working construction during the day, and voluntarily baking for his neighbors by night, Mr. Nagashima, with support from a Mercy Corps grant, reopened his bakery and hired two full-time positions. Today he is again famous for his creations, such as the candy bento box, whimsical birthday cakes and madeleines; his shop and products have drawn tourists from all over the country.
Then there is the story of Tsutomu Onodera – a former fish merchant whose business, along with the entire fishery infrastructure perished in the tsunami. Driven to help restart this vital product supply chain, Mr. Onodera started a co-op fresh food market where small vendors gather to sell their produce and fish.
With the re-employment grant from NVIDIA, Mr. Onodera was able to hire a market manager, allowing for a broader range of services and products to the community. In his colorful market, shoppers find fresh fish, produce, bento boxes, spices, sake and candy. Above being an entrepreneur, Mr. Onodera is committed to revitalizing his community.
Ryota Nagashima’s and Tsutomu Onodera’s businesses are two examples of the 219 enterprises that this Mercy Corps program has reached – 31 of them are start-ups. Through this program, we have reached over 2,600 people across the mountainous coastal region. But most importantly, 100% of the businesses that we have supported are still in business.
In the past six months, the program has expanded its reach to the south in Minami Soma, near the Daichii nuclear power plant. Given its proximity to the power plant, the region faces additional challenges to economic recovery. In some ways life is stagnant – homes have been abandoned – and in some, the daily life goes on – for instance, in an effort to make conditions safer for residents, top soil from children’s playgrounds has been scraped off. Small business owners are eager to reopen their doors, and we are helping them do just that.
And we are only halfway done. With the funds donated from NVIDIA and other generous donors, Mercy Corps, along with its local partner organization, PlaNet Finance will identify more small business candidates for support. Each month, several candidates are chosen. At this rate, we plan to keep granting through 2014.
On this somber two-year anniversary, Japan sees some silver linings. The disaster has created some fundamental cultural shifts, such as recognizing the benefits of microfinance investments, acknowledging the importance of psychosocial care and identifying ecologically sound opportunities for reconstructing the region.
Each small business owner we help has his or her own painful story of loss and suffering, and ultimately rebirth. And, each one of the enterprises Mercy Corps supports is one small part of a very large puzzle that is the recovery and revitalization of Japan’s tsunami zone.
This report covers the period 1 January to 31 December 2012
The IFRC’s East Asia regional delegation (EARD) serves to support and build capacities within the national societies (NSs) of the East Asia region. The region includes China, Mongolia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. The IFRC supports all five national Red Cross Societies in the region and additionally has long-term planning frameworks specifically for the NSs in China, Mongolia, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
In 2012, the IFRC EARD reorganized itself to provide even more focus on development programmes. A regional development delegate was put in place to head up all support in areas of national society disaster preparedness, health and care, organizational development and long-term development in the East Asia region. Community-based approaches have been strengthened throughout the year, with priorities on supporting community resilience and better integration of needs-based support.
The East Asia regional team is providing direct support to and training opportunities for NS personnel in building up their capacity and skills. The team has also represented the East Asia region at various Asia Pacific and global meetings to contribute to and coordinate resources and knowledge sharing in Asia Pacific region.
China - The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has officially started a comprehensive reform process since July 2012. The Chinese Government shows extraordinary support to the reform of the RCSC. The support has been evident in the prioritization by Congress of the modification of the Red Cross Law in China, and the State Council statement and implementation guideline to all the government departments to support RCSC reform. A task force of RCSC reform was set up and the IFRC and ICRC have been invited to participate and provide inputs.
In 2012, various natural disasters hit many regions of China affecting more than 290 million people and resulted in over RMB 400 billion (approx. 67 billion dollars) in direct economic losses. With the support of IFRC, the National Society has responded to the disasters in a more efficient and systematic way. The recently formed emergency response teams of the RCSC, with the support of the IFRC regional delegation, have been mobilized more often with greater effectiveness.
DPRK – Tensions remained high on the Korean peninsula throughout the year. A rocket launch by the DPRK government in December caused serious alarm within the international community, and yet there are positive signs of potential economic reform in the country. The DPRK has faced several disasters this year. The spring drought raised fears of a massive decline in crop yield. The heavy rains in July caused serious damage in many disaster prone areas, and CHF 300,969 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the DPRK Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) in delivering immediate assistance to some 2,500 families (10,000 beneficiaries).
The impact of these floods was exacerbated when Typhoon Bolaven hit on 28 August. Nearly 6,000 houses were destroyed and many lives affected. Another CHF 272,817 had been allocated from the IFRC’s DREF to support the National Society on immediate assistance to some 2,515 families (11,600 beneficiaries).
The DPRK RCS has received consistent support over the last decade from IFRC, its Red Cross partner NSs and their donor governments, as well as from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The National Society receives focused and appropriate support through the Cooperation Agreement Strategy (CAS) established between all partners since 2005. The need for humanitarian support through the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and other international organizations is still acute, particularly in the areas of food, health, water and sanitation and disaster preparedness.
Mongolia – In December, the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) of Mongolia issued a dzud warning for the winter of 2012-2013. Many families were forced to evacuate and livestock was not able to survive on the pastures. Mongolia Red Cross Society (MRCS) and IFRC act proactively towards the harsh winter, especially in looking at how communities can increase their resilience. A national vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA) process has been initiated in 2012 to allow the MRCS to review the vulnerabilities and capacities of many communities and Red Cross branches throughout the country. The findings, expected to be released in 2013, will be shared with stakeholders in Mongolia and partners as a joint mechanism for coordinating appropriate support throughout the country.
Japan – Earthquake and Tsunami – The earthquake of magnitude 9.0 and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011 has posed severe loss of lives and humanitarian consequences. More than two years have passed since the disaster struck, and while immediate physical recovery is gradually picking up speed, survivors were still in much need of support such as psychosocial and long-term recovery. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident has also created much uneasiness among the public, not only in Fukushima but throughout the nation as the evacuation zone is still seriously contaminated and may remain uninhabitable for decades. Collaboration within the Movement commenced almost immediately after the catastrophe. From the onset of the disaster, IFRC has provided support in coordination of partners, communications, reporting, logistics, finance and other areas through frequent visits from the EARD and Asia Pacific zone office as well as from the Secretariat in Geneva. An IFRC representative has been based in the JRCS headquarters in support of the operation and coordination of partners.
Korea – The Korean Red Cross Society (KRCS) has new leadership in place as of 2012 and the IFRC is supporting those leaders as they take on their new responsibilities. A pre-disaster workshop was supported by the IFRC which provided a very useful platform for the KRCS, its government, other stakeholders and the IFRC to better understand response mechanisms and capacities. With technical support of the IFRC, the KRCS also organized its first ever IFRC Model General Assembly, which had great success in bringing together youth to discuss global humanitarian issues.
Town was hit by 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
The Singapore Red Cross, together with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local Shichigahama officials today opened the Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School, marking a major milestone in the rebuilding efforts following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The ceremony was attended by Guest-of-Honour Mr Sam Tan, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Culture, Community and Youth and Mr Yoshio Watanabe, Mayor of Shichigahama Town.
The Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School, established in 1975, was badly damaged in the disaster and was rebuilt at a cost of S$5 million. It is one of several rebuilding projects that the SRC has undertaken as part of its overall support for the disaster relief and recovery efforts.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Sam Tan said, “Singapore and Singaporeans will continue to support Japan and the people of Japan in their time of need. Today is a happy occasion, and we stand with you to celebrate the joy of hope and renewal, our common desire to raise our children as beacons of the future, and the enduring friendship between the peoples of Singapore and Japan.”
In his welcome speech, Mr Yoshio Watanabe, Mayor of Shichigahama Town said, “we have lost many things due to the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. However, it has also given us a wonderful opportunity to meet with people from Singapore and create a new bond between Shichigahama and Singapore. This is an irreplaceable treasure which gives us strength. For this debt of gratitude, we will do our utmost to nurture children who are the bearers of the future of Shichigahama at this nursery and make Shichigahama a wonderful town.”
Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General of Singapore Red Cross, said, “The completion of Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School heralds a new beginning for the children of Shichigahama town. We are glad to be here – in the third spring after the earthquake and tsunami – to present the young ones with a head start in life, to pave the way for a bright future.”
The new nursery school has the capacity for 90 children, more than half the number of children in the town, and draws from the lessons of the past to be better prepared for the future – for example, it is constructed on elevated ground so it can serve as an evacuation centre for future emergencies.
Ms Mutsuyo Kishiyanagi, Chair of the Parents’ Association of the Shichigahama Toyama Nursery School, thanked the people of Singapore for their “generous support.” She said, “The children are enjoying wonderful days with friends and teachers at the new Toyama Nursery School.”
Additionally, the SRC funded the construction of other facilities in the affected Tohoku region. These include the Taro Support Centre in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture, that was completed in November 2011 and serves 1,700 residents monthly. The elderly have regular access to seminars, classes, rehabilitation facilities and equipment.
Still under construction are the multi-purpose community hall in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, and the Isobe Community Centre in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture. The community hall in Rikuzentakata City will serve as a Disaster Relief Centre to be integrated with the city’s fire and police departments. The Isobe Community Centre will provide the 2,000 residents with a disaster prevention centre and emergency holding area with emergency supplies.
These projects are all funded by the generous donations of the people of Singapore.
The report “Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Major Economic Crises” will be launched at the 69th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Asia and the Pacific is the most disaster-prone region of the world. Almost two million people were killed by disasters in the region between 1970 and 2011, representing 75 per cent of global disaster fatalities. A person living in Asia and the Pacific is four times more likely to be affected by natural disasters than someone living in Africa, and 25 times more likely than someone living in Europe or North America. In 2011 alone, economic damages and losses from disasters in the region totaled more than $293 billion.
The impacts of economic crises are equally devastating. Five years of worldwide financial crises have shown how difficult it is for economically and socially vulnerable people to cope with unexpected shocks, imposed by forces well beyond their control.
While global financial crises, food and fuel crises, and the consequences of natural disasters may seem to be unrelated, they are all shocks applied to the complex systems that interlink social, economic and environmental factors. A single incident, which might once have been localized and managed in isolation, now has multiple and interrelated regional and global consequences. Floods in Thailand, for example, triggered supply-chain disruptions around the world, and severe droughts that covered large swathes of China and Central Asia led to higher food prices for millions of people.
For many policymakers, this is uncharted territory: they are more accustomed to focusing on problems in particular economic or social sectors rather than treating them as systemic wholes. This report provides a comprehensive response to addressing multiple shocks in Asia and the Pacific. It shows how people, organizations, institutions and policymakers can work together to weave resilience into economic, social and environmental policies.
The Caritas Annual Report shows our work in 2012 through five strategic priorities identified during the year: addressing poverty at home and abroad, responding to emergencies, upholding the dignity and rights of indigenous peoples, promoting environmental justice, and connecting effectively with our Catholic community.
Public donations topped $3 million last year, including a record Lent total of more than $900,000. We are grateful for the government’s New Zealand Aid Programme which contributed almost $1 million towards Caritas development and relief programmes.
These contributions helped support long-term development and emergency relief across Asia, Africa and the Pacific, including ongoing earthquake recovery in Christchurch. New partnerships for development were forged with two dioceses in the Solomon Islands.
Within New Zealand we continued to advocate for our most vulnerable citizens, such as beneficiaries, young workers and refugees. Our relationship with Te Rūnanga o te Hāhi Katorika (National Māori Catholic Council) and work on indigenous issues is developing, while our work promoting justice, peace and Catholic social teaching in Catholic schools continues to be well-received.
The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) was established in May 2000 and provides direct grant assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) while fostering long-term socioeconomic development. The grants target poverty reduction initiatives with the direct participation of nongovernment organizations, community groups, and civil society.
In 2009, the Government of Japan and ADB expanded the scope of JFPR to include provision of support to DMCs through capacity development, policy and advisory, research and development, and project preparatory technical assistance.
Some fast facts about JFPR:
• Established in May 2000 after the Asian financial crisis;
• Assists the poorest and most vulnerable groups;
• Received $615.4 million in contributions from Japan as of March 2013;
• Two grant types: ◦ Project grants (investment projects for direct poverty reduction); and ◦ Technical assistance (capacity development, policy and advisory support, knowledge/research and development, and project preparation)
• $537 million approved for 157 poverty reduction and 116 technical assistance grants to 30 developing member countries;
• Promotes innovation;
• Encourages participation of nongovernment organizations and other stakeholders; and • External evaluation in 2007 found the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction relevant, efficient, effective, and sustainable and “generally aligns with ADB’s strategic objectives, [while] individual projects are in line with the country partnership strategies and national poverty reduction strategies."
19.04.2013 - Japan is lending its support to the UPU in establishing a global disaster risk reduction and management policy for the postal sector.
Shigeki Suzuki, director general of the postal services policy department at the Japanese ministry of internal affairs and communications, and UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein today signed a cooperation agreement on this matter.
The agreement comes with a voluntary contribution of some 350,000 Swiss francs for disaster reduction projects and building postal sector resilience.
“When the Great East Japan Earthquake happened in March 2011, we realized that postal services were a fundamental means of communication and reconstruction for countries,” said Suzuki, who added that a Japanese proposal adopted at the Doha Congress formed the basis for this commitment. He thanked member countries for their support at the time of the catastrophe.
A subgroup of the UPU Council of Administration’s Sustainable Development Project Group, expected to be created next week during the body’s annual session, will oversee policy development and the exchange of best practices among member countries.
Japan’s postal regulator will second an expert to the International Bureau to assist with the work.
The new United Nations five-year action plan encourages UN specialized agencies to include climate change and disaster risk management into their activities.
In the past few years, the UPU and member countries have financed and provided emergency assistance and sent experts and equipment to revive postal activity in areas affected by natural disasters.
Myanmar: Asia-Pacific Region 10 - 16 April, 2013, Natural Disasters and Other Events being monitored by the OCHA Regional Office for the Asia-Pacific
1. DPR Korea - Crisis Watch classifies the situation in DPR Korea as "deteriorating" in response to recent decisions by the authorities there to cut off communications with the Rep. of Korea; an order to ensure its rockets are combat-ready and targeting US bases in the region, and its declaration that it was in a "state of war" with the Rep. of Korea. Source: ICG
2. Myanmar - Since 6 April IDPs have been allowed to return to their damaged houses to search through debris in Meikhtila prior to land clearance in preparation for rebuilding homes. As a result of the Government-led ‘family reunification process’ several persons have been reunited with family members. Source: OCHASitrep
3. Indonesia - On 12 April, floods along the Bengawan Solo River killed 11 people and inundated 22,830 houses in Central and East Java. The Government is responding. Source: BNPB, OCHA
4. Japan - A 6.0 Rs earthquake struck western Japan on 13 April. 25 people were reported injured in five Prefectures (17 injured in Hyogo). 1,974 buildings/houses were damaged in four Prefectures (1,967 buildings in Hyogo) - mostly concentrated on Awaji Island. No damages to infrastructure were reported including gas and electricity. Water supply was temporarily disrupted affecting 79 household in Hyogo Prefecture, all of which have been restored by now. Source: OCHA
5. China - As of 14 April, 60 H7N9 human infection cases have been reported nationwide with 24 in Shanghai, 16 in Jiangsu, 15 in Zhejiang, two in Anhui, two in Henan and one in Beijing. Of the 60 infected people, 13 have died. Source: Media
6. Malaysia/Philippines - Over 7,350 people have arrived in the Philippines from Sabah since 5 March. Source: The Philippines HRC, UNHCR
7. Papua New Guinea - A 6.6 Rs earthquake struck Panguna and Arawa areas in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea on the 14 April. No reports of damages or deaths. Source: PDC, USGS, OCHA
8. Solomon Islands- Since January a Dengue outbreak in Solomon Islands which originated in the capital Honiara has spread to other provinces and continues despite the efforts of health officials. Three deaths and 2,226 cases have been reported as of 4April. Source: OCHA
Precipitation Forecast - The latest forecasts predict average levels of precipitation around the region. There is a chance of below average rainfall in Tuvalu and Tokelau Source: IRI
Ongoing Emergencies: - Philippines: Typhoon Bopha - Myanmar: Rakhine State - Myanmar: Kachin State
Japan shares lessons on ways information and communication technologies can help strengthen countries’ disaster risk management plans and empower communities facing disasters.
Otsuchi Town in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture was struck hard by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. More than 800 people lost their lives, including the mayor, and 500 people remain missing. Vital information and communication technology (ICT) services were also interrupted, making it hard for citizens to carry on their daily business.
Two years later, Otsuchi Town is still recovering – and restoring ICT services is a priority. The municipality is trying to build resilience against future disasters, for instance by cooperating with the private sector to restore interrupted e-government services, leveraging cloud computing technologies.
This is just one example of Japan’s experience in using ICT for disaster risk management. On March 25, ministers and high-level policy makers from nine disaster-prone countries – Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam – and more than 150 participants from the Japanese government, disaster-related agencies, embassies, the private sector, academia, and civil society gathered in Tokyo to learn from Japan’s rich experience and discuss how it could be applied to disaster risk management in developing countries.
The symposium was hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the World Bank, and the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).
Impact of disasters
While the Japanese experience is a reminder that no country is immune from the impacts of disasters, the statistics show that poor and vulnerable countries suffer the most. Since 1980, the economic costs of disasters in developing countries amounted to $1.2 trillion, equivalent to about a third of all official development aid. Over that same period, low-income countries accounted for only 9 percent of the total number of disasters, but 48 percent of the fatalities.
Opening the symposium, Japan State Secretary for Internal Affairs and Communications Masahiko Shibayama emphasized the critical role ICT plays in disaster management and the need to stimulate wider use of these tools in the developing world.
Chris Vein, senior manager of the World Bank's ICT sector, said, “The World Bank’s support is evolving to reflect new development challenges, and disaster risk management is becoming one of the key areas in which ICTs can make an exceptional impact.”
Myanmar’s Union Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr. Daw Myat Myat Ohn Khin, emphasized that lessons from Japan will contribute to strengthening disaster preparedness in other nations, including in Myanmar, where the recent Thabeikkyin earthquake claimed 18 lives and affected more than 10,000 people. She identified geo-spatial and remote sensing technologies, along with modern ICT systems, as ways to strengthen disaster management planning.
Technologies for disaster risk management
Since the January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where tools such as Ushahidi, Twitter, and Open Street Map proved their efficacy, the power of technology for disaster risk management has been widely recognized. The Tokyo event highlighted technologies Japan leveraged in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, for instance:
- A real-time traffic map was generated and made available to the public (including via Google) using data gathered from moving vehicles;
- Observation data from flood sensors was distributed to car navigation systems and smartphones; and
- GPS data from mobile phones was used to reproduce and analyze the flow of people at the time of the earthquake.
The Japanese presented other advanced technologies for disaster risk management, including for early warning (such as J-alert - a nationwide automated early warning system); emergency response, data analysis and decision making (such as tsunami arrival time, flood level and risk analysis); and information sharing (such as mobile TV and satellite mobile phones).
Participants discussed how low-income countries with limited resources and skills capacity could take advantage of Japanese technologies. Some have been leveraged in countries like Indonesia, where an interesting example of local customization was presented: use of mosques’ speaker systems to disseminate early warnings information.
Other participants underlined the need to build awareness in communities through regular training and school education so that people can make informed decisions.
Building resilient societies
Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Vice Minister Eiichi Tanaka and World Bank Special Representative in Tokyo Kazushige Taniguchi affirmed the Japanese government’s and World Bank’s readiness to help build the capacity needed to meet these challenges in developing countries.
“Japan’s experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the lessons it learned can be beneficial in establishing a resilient society for all countries that suffer from natural disasters. And I think these experiences and knowledge should be shared with all,” Tanaka said.
Taniguchi emphasized the importance of not only hardware installation but also applications and services, starting with basic systems such as emergency drills. He also stressed the need for governments, the private sector, and civil society to work in partnership to effectively leverage the technologies and make the appropriate investments.
The meeting provided positive perspectives on how technologies can help strengthen countries’ disaster management plans and empower communities and individuals in disaster situations.
Natural disasters1 in 2012
In 2012, 310 natural disasters were recorded in the EM-DAT database. They claimed 9,930 lives, affected over 106 million others and caused economic damages of US$138 billion.
There were no mega-disasters in 2012 in terms of human impact.
The largest disaster of 2012 in terms of mortality was Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines that resulted in 1,901 deaths. It was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao and affected over 6 million persons.