IFNet 2nd General Meeting Report

January 19th, 2005
at International Conference Center Kobe, Japan

Recommendation by IFNet
"Towards Flood Disasters Reduction"

    Floods occur every year in many parts of the world claiming human lives and causing property damages on a large scale. Although continuous and steady efforts have been made to reduce flood disasters, statistics of flood disasters seem to point to an upward tendency contrary to our expectations. IFNet, bearing the task of flood disaster reduction through network activities, presents these recommendations as a summary of the 2nd General Meeting of IFNet held on 19 Jan. 2005 in conjunction with UN WCDR in Kobe.

I. Flood Disasters
1. Situation in Recent Years
     The scale and extent of flood disasters depends upon not only the magnitude of flood as a natural phenomena but also upon the interactions with various social factors such as the urban structurefs vulnerability to flood inundation, the related regionfs capabilities to tackle floods and residentfs ability to react to flooding. In recent years socio-economic development and diverse ways of life have been growing, which means that once a flood has caused damages in some areas, it will take a time and a large amount of energy for them to restore their previous levels of socio-economic activities.

2. Factors of Increasing Flood Disasters
     Globally increasing flood disasters are mainly attributed to the advance of urbanization into flood-prone areas. As urbanization has been promoted by development pressures accompanying economic growth and the inflow of population into urban areas caused by unemployment and poverty problems in rural areas, solving these problems cannot expect to be handled by river authorities and disaster prevention agencies alone.

3. Inadequate Recognition of Risk
     Prevention of human losses linked to water-induced disasters such as floods, tsunamis and debris flows is possible if adequate actions based on correct judgment of disaster information are taken before the likely disaster materializes. This is a sharp contrast to the case of earthquakes which are less predictable and occur momentarily.  However proper actions have seldom been taken in the past against unprecedented natural phenomena. This is because people tend, in such occasions, to fail to be fully aware of the extent of the danger and their destroying power even at the moment they are most likely to be involved in big disasters.

II. Countermeasures to be Promoted
     Towards flood disaster reduction, flood issues should be addressed as global ones rather than locally limited ones. Promotions of the following countermeasures are recommended with various initiatives and activities that have been developed in many parts of the world being further coordinated. These will help with global efforts in reducing by half the number victims due to floods by 2015.

1. Disaster Information for People in Dangerous Areas
     Given that even those areas which are far from regions having heavy rainfall, domestic or sometimes cross-border, would suffer from flooding of big rivers, disaster prevention information which is transmitted extensively bears a great significance. Such cases occur often, however, where inadequate information transmission failed to convey important disaster information properly. For reducing human loss in a short time, it will be efficient to improve and reinforce the current information transmission systems, leaving no zones uninformed.

2. Disaster Information Leading to Peoplefs Evacuation from Dangerous Areas
     Disaster information doesnft necessarily lead to prompt evacuation in those areas without any experiences of past disasters or with relief generated by completed structural measures. The way of providing information leading to prompt evacuation in dangerous areas should be examined.

3. Normal Time Efforts Leading to Peoplefs Evacuation in Emergency
     To ensure that disaster prevention information fully leads to evacuation actions in emergencies including the assistance to those weak in disasters, it is essential that true understanding of disaster information and full recognition of the actions to be taken in dangerous areas are shared among societies in normal times. Such measures as flood risk analysis, flood hazard mapping, training for disaster information transmission and actions to be taken, etc. should be further promoted.

4. Approaches from Whole Society
Since flood disasters are increasing as a result of various socio-economic factors, itfs difficult to solve the problems without suitable approach to the primary causes of disorderly urbanization, poverty and so on. Therefore under the suitable share of roles from national to community levels, approaches from whole society to raise resilience against floods are requisite.

5. Optimum Combination of Hard and Soft Measures
     In response to individual regional conditions, the optimum combination of soft and cost-beneficial hard measures should be steadily developed with a full support from the local communities so that they could have a maximum effect on disaster reduction.

Presentations at the IFNet 2nd General Meeting
by IFNet Participants
Keynote Lecture (64KB) Mr. Avinash C. Tyagi, Director of Hydrology and Water Resources Department, World Meteorological Organization
Japan / Worldfs Floods in 2004 (1366KB) IFNet secretariat
Floods in the Shikoku Region in 2004 (5418KB) Mr. Ryosuke Kikuchi, Former Director General of IFNet, Director of River,Shikoku Regional Bureau, MLIT
Community-based Flood Management in Bangladesh (70KB) Dr. Q K Ahmad, Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad
Measures of Jamaica in the Hurricane-affected Caribbean (1031KB) Mr. Andreas Haiduk, Water Resources Authority of Jamaica
Flood hazard map in China (2443KB) Mr. Liu Jinping, Deputy Director of Hydrological Information and Forecasting Division, Bureau of Hydrology, Ministry of Water Resources, China
Hydrological Activities with Community Participation in the Philippines Mr. Oscar D. Cruz, PAGASA, the Philippines
1 Improvement of Hydrological Products in Response to Users Need (1479KB)
2 PAGASA' s Participation in Community-Based Flood Forecasting and Warning System (984KB)
Report from the IFNet session at the Workshop on Water and Disasters in Canada (526KB) Mr. Akira Sasaki, IFNet Secretariat


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