2015 Summit in Sendai: Will Policies Change?

September 18, 2014

In the Philippines, Maharlika Dos, a maritime vessel was swept by strong winds and currents from its nautical path and eventually sank. At the moment, already seventy people are reported as missing and have to be confirmed either alive or dead. For a small ship, this was not unexpected. More than five or even ten times the size of the ill-fated Maharlika Dos, Captain Ufuk – a huge foreign shipping vessel – that was seized by Philippine authorities in a special operation, berthed far off the coast of Manila Bay, was pushed by strong wind and waves toward the bayfront of Mall of Asia only a day or so ago. Government has recently issued as of September 18, 2014 flood advisories – clearly quite a little late after many have already been submerged.

There is danger that Philippines’ Mayon Volcano might erupt at any time. One of the predicted impacts of high solar activity. Evacuations are being undertaken long before the feared incident might happen. However, those that refuse to part with their farm animals are finding it difficult to join the trek to the evacuation centers.

Activating Mayon Volcano – BBC photo.

In Serbia, horrific floods caused extreme scare among the people. Fatalities cannot be fully accounted for at this time, but the number of dead will run up to hundreds.

Fairly recently, hundreds of people died in Japan due again to floods, high waters and landslides as in Sendai-Fukushima and many other areas of Japan. No one can say that Japan is not learning, but more needs to be done. Hundreds died in India and Pakistan for the same reasons.

Japan, India, Pakistan and the rest of the world has to act now. Change policies or the entire policy regime that affects the safety of people in disaster threatened zones.

Floods since last week in India and Pakistan has killed hundreds

Japan reports: Dozens killed due to floods and landslides. How many dozens?

Policies need to change. If they do not change, then the leaders just need to be changed with new faces and new blood that will secure better chances for the survival of potential victims of disasters in the future. There is a great deal of puzzlement whether the mission of the conference in Sendai, Japan being organized by the United Nations coincides with the advocacy to save lives. Will the UN continue to just simplistically push for resilience?

Japan itself, where the conference will happen, has shown that it adopts our idea of relocation. Communities near the coast in the devastated areas of Fukushima, Sendai, among others in that country, have moved their homes to much higher ground to ensure their safety. The UN appears oblivious to this, but greater media mileage can educate others about this laudable move by the people of Japan – in the face of their great lament that national and sub-national government regrettably informed them that it had limited resources to support the resettlement. The victims decided upon the relocation themselves and went through with it anyway.

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