Local disaster response critical, UN conference stresses

The importance of local focus when disasters occur was stressed Monday at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.

Ministers and other officials discussed the benefits a bottom-up shift in disaster management as opposed to current top-down methods. Many at the discussion stated that local responsibility is incredibly important.
The discussion, titled "Governing Disaster Risk: Overcoming Challenges," aims to find and develop solutions to gaps in disaster response activity from governments and the international community including disaster governance. The gaps often appear at the local level.

State Minister of the Cabinet Office of Japan Ryosei Akazawa discussed recent events such as the great east Japan earthquake. He said 16,000 people died and that thousands are still considered missing. An issue that was apparent in the management of this disaster was the lack of knowledge among individuals on how to best prepare or survive an earthquake of that magnitude.
Akazawa said public awareness and education were necessary for an individual's survival of a disastrous event.
Apolistic Nuncio of the Holy See in Japan Joseph Chennoth said there is a need for solidarity at all levels of governmental interaction. Struggling economies that are hit with disaster see effects far beyond the initial loss of life and damage to personal and municipal property. He called for the development of a long-term blueprint plan with special focus on resilience and reconstruction as a result of this conference.