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Five days Regional DM Working Group Meeting opens today at NHQ, IRCS
26.05.2008: New Delhii
“We need to integrate disaster management, health and organizational development with each other which would help us achieve the desired results” said Prof. (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society, while inaugurating the five days Regional Disaster Management Working Group Meeting (DMWG) from May 26th – 30th, 2008 at the Disaster Management Centre, NHQ, IRCS. He further asked the working group to pool in their local experiences which can be adopted and replicated by all other National Societies. He added that disasters and diseases are a common phenomenon and they don’t know any geographical boundaries.

He added that many organizations have more financial resources than the Red Cross but as we have grassroot level presence, global network and credibility, we deliver the services better and faster to the needy.

Mr. Al Panico, HoRD, SARD stated that the fifth Regional Disaster Management Working Group meeting was held in Sri-Lanka from October 28th – 30th 2007 that helped in understanding various disaster risk reduction (DRR) issues, strengthening the functions of the DMGW and equally provided a common platform to share relevant experience and knowledge amongst the DRR practitioners. The forum was also endorsed by the Secretary Generals of the National Society’s in the region along with the integrated programming approach for building safer communities.

The sixth DMWG meeting will focus on the issues like previewing the outcomes of the Sri Lanka DMWG meeting, doing a comparative analysis between the Well Prepared National Society Survey carried out in 2004 and 2007 in the region, sharing and learning from the national, regional and global activities and initiatives and to provide input and comments for the National Societies DM Plan 2009-2010. Its being attended by the representatives from National Societies and country delegations, of the International Federation from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Maldives. Members from Geneva Secretariat, South Asia Regional Office, ADPC (Bangkok) are also attending the meeting.

Latifur Rehman, Regional DM Delegate, Asia Pacific Disaster Management Unit, presently helping India Office of the IFRC mentioned that ‘South Asia is a disaster prone region. However the disaster management is not structured so well. Therefore, we need to work in partnerships. This meeting would surely provide the platform for understanding where we are and where we want to be’.

Mr. Ibrahim Fawaz, DM Programme Officer from Maldives Delegation stated, ‘At present there is no National Society in Maldives therefore we lack the knowledge of working at local level while addressing the disaster related issues. In this meeting we hope to gain more experience which would itself be beneficial when we move ahead’
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