Like many international organisations involved in the delivery of medical and humanitarian aid to vulnerable communities, MERCY Malaysia has been actively involved in providing emergency assistance to affected populations.
MERCY Malaysia began implementing its key domestic and international projects and programmes by utilising a new approach, Total Disaster Risk Management (TDRM) in 2005.
The TDRM approach is in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which was adopted by 168 countries at the 2005 UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan.
The HFA outlined five main action points, among them the importance of risk education as an important element to help reduce vulnerabilities.
TDRM applies disaster risk management to all the phases of the disaster management cycle – emergency response, recovery, prevention/mitigation and preparedness/readiness.
MERCY Malaysia’s commitment to TDRM highlights the importance of discovering a clearer understanding and response to disaster management while also addressing the root causes and underlying factors that lead to disasters.
First Phase – Emergency Response
A life-saving phase, its aim is to ensure that an effective response – rescue efforts, fire fighting, emergency medical assistance and an evacuation procedure – is in place when a disaster has taken place.
Second Phase – Recovery
This phase involves rehabilitation and disaster-resilient reconstruction efforts as well as appropriate land use planning, industrial rehabilitation planning and livelihood support.
Third Phase – Prevention/ Mitigation
This phase focuses on efforts to prevent or mitigate damage when a disaster strikes. Among the activities related to this phase are the utilisation of seismic resistant technology for rebuilding or retro-fitting, the construction of dikes, replanting of mangroves, forestation and the construction and operation of meteorological observation systems to help prevent and mitigate damage in the event of an earthquake, flood, landslide or storm.
Final Phase – Preparedness/ Readiness
As it is important for any country to be prepared in the event of a disaster, this phase is crucial as it places the importance of hazard maps, food and material stockpiling as well as the preparation of emergency kits, all vital factors that help to minimise the impact of a disaster.
The risk of disasters and its adverse impact can be reduced effectively if balanced attention is placed on all phases of the disaster management cycle.