Red Cross tackles threats of disaster in urban areas

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The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), together with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is hosting a three-day workshop from August 19 to August 21 to address issues of growing disaster threats to urban populations.

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PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said the rising incidence and severity of natural disasters exerts pressure on the global community to address the threats to urban populations everywhere, most especially in Southeast Asia.

Gordon added that the Urban Disaster Management workshop provides a unique opportunity to discuss this vital concern “so that the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement can become a catalyst for the rapid dissemination of best practices and innovative approaches to the problem of disaster mitigation in urban areas.”

The workshop brings together disaster management specialists from the International Red Cross Movement in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, together with representatives from Government authorities, the United Nations, non-government organizations and academic and private institutions. Discussions will be centered on a common purpose–to develop an effective approach to urban disaster management.

“We are seeing increased vulnerability, especially in the low social economic groups who often have no choice but to live in slums or informal settlements. Often these settlements are located in hazard-prone locations such as steep hillsides, industrial areas and riverbanks subject to flooding. Here in the Philippines, we suffer over 20 tropical storms each year and these communities are hit hardest when flooding affects Metro Manila,” PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang said.

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