Disaster risk reduction is a major concern of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. Our geographic region experiences more natural disasters than any other part of the world, and increasingly countries are recognising the need to plan for a natural disaster rather than focus on what to do after a disaster strikes. There is a need for capability training in disaster event warning and evacuation strategy where the ability to interpret and utilise scientific information is expanded. Also, the disaster management cycle generally described as having four phases — mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery — is beginning to be seen as having a fifth phase of redesign. Beyond an overall approach, more specific opportunities are needed to enable collaborative action.
At the Conference level, we have developed a protocol calling for greater integration of capacity and networking, and we are encouraging our various provinces to develop their own protocol. The Philippine Province, which experiences natural disasters every year, was the first to develop a province protocol. [Philippine Province Disaster Response Coordination Protocol]
In addition, many Jesuit education institutions have relief and disaster risk reduction and management in their planning and processes. Having a broader system for coordination will increase impact and deepen responses. Greater social preparedness integrated with scientific analysis, in the event of the typhoons and cyclones prevalent in the Pacific, is needed.
With the increasing incidence of more intense storms and other climatic hazards, stakeholders are actively seeking opportunities to respond to needs. The Hyogo Framework for Action details the work required from all different stakeholders to reduce disaster losses. It outlines priority actions and offers guiding principles and practical means for achieving reduction in disaster losses through building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.
Many Jesuit institutions are already doing good work in the area of disaster risk reduction and management. With a further system or protocol for coordination amongst people, there is a great potential for magis – reaching more people, broadening networks, multiplying impacts and deepening the response. A protocol is a system that outlines procedures and actions to be followed in a particular situation.
In 2015, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific released a coordination protocol for disaster risk reduction and management. Download the protocol here.
Jesuit organisations assist in disaster relief and also help disaster-affected communities recover and rebuild. Click here for stories about these activities.