Accountability in action

 Accountability has become a buzz word in the aid industry in recent years, but in the eyes of many aid workers, it remains a luxury they cannot afford given the pressures and constraints of working in the field. 

For Maria Kiani, senior quality and accountability adviser at the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), “the debate isn’t about principles versus pragmatism. It is about an approach that can be a principled pragmatism… It’s not about trying to fix the context; it’s how you work within that context.” 

Here are some initiatives that have tried to make accountability a reality, even in the most difficult circumstances: 

SMS/social media pilot, Somalia: The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is piloting a new feedback mechanism in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in which complaints or other feedback sent by text message are plotted onto an online map and filtered by theme and location. Affected people, partners, government or outside observers can search the site and track the response to each complaint, or subscribe to receive emails about specific topics. Some complaints are then shared on FacebookTwitter, and a blog for further discussion. 

“It’s a bit risky,” says the DRC director for Somalia, Heather Amstutz, “but it has shown us that it is possible.” 

Humanitarian Communications Programme, Pakistan: What started as an experiment to find out why relief items given to displaced people in northern Pakistan were being sold on the open market has become a nationwide inter-agency humanitarian call centre, hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). It receives feedback and complaints on any aid operation in the country, whether delivered by the UN, NGOs or the government, and refers the complaint to the cluster or agency in question, which must try to resolve the issue within a specific period of time. 


Indian Met department predicts El Nino trouble for monsoon

The dreaded El Niño weather phenomenon is set to appear during the second half of the southwest monsoon, which may cause less-than-expected rains in August and September. El Niño had earlier hit the Indian monsoon in 2009, when the country faced a severe drought. This time, its impact is not clear as of now, but if there are excessive breaks in the monsoon, crops of paddy, oilseeds and pulses could bear the brunt.

Senior officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said they were now more confident that El Niño would indeed appear during the second half of the southwest season, compared to April when the last official forecast was made. At the time of the April forecast, El Niño was in a neutral state.


UNOSAT delivers GIS training in disaster risk management to experts in Asia

UNOSAT delivered for the third time in the past three years its renowned training on post-disaster impact and damage analysis as part of the international training course on Geographic Information System (GIS) for Disaster Risk Management (GIS4DRM) organised annually ad the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC).

Bangkok training_Luca Dell'Oro with studentsThe 8th edition of the GIS4DRM  course was held from 7 to 18 May 2012 in Bangkok.
This particular UNOSAT training lasts three consecutive days and it is structured as hands-on sessions on GIS methodologies to perform satellite based analysis for emergency response mapping, an area in which UNOSAT experts have gathered over 10 years of operational experience in both disasters and complex emergencies.

In 2010 the GIS4DRM course was revamped jointly by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente, the Netherlands (ITC), and UNOSAT to respond to new challenges and new emerging technology. In addition UNOSAT and ADPC signed in 2010 a strategic allianceto bring more training on geospatial solutions to the disaster risk reduction and response communities in Asia.


Indian Met department predicts El Nino trouble for monsoon

The dreaded El Niño weather phenomenon is set to appear during the second half of the southwest monsoon, which may cause less-than-expected rains in August and September. El Niño had earlier hit the Indian monsoon in 2009, when the country faced a severe drought. This time, its impact is not clear as of now, but if there are excessive breaks in the monsoon, crops of paddy, oilseeds and pulses could bear the brunt.


H1N1 death: Hospitals on high alert

Chennai corporation officials on Sunday continued their hunt for two patients who tested positive for H1N1 virus a day earlier but could not be traced after their addresses were found to be incorrect.

The search acquired increased urgency after a 75-yearold man died of the infection in Tirupur district on Saturday, the first reported swine flu death in the state in more than ayear and a half.

The civic body also put private doctors on high alert for symptoms of the infection especially if accompanied by other health complications. Civic body officials began looking for the two missing patients in private hospitals too, apprehensive that they may pass on the infection to other people.

"We can now only confirm that these patients have not been admitted to any major government hospital or any of the primary health centres across north Chennai," said city additional health officer G TThangarajan.

The corporation launched a search for the patients on Saturday after officials of the civic body discovered that the addresses in the Stanley Medical College & Hospital registry were found to be fake. Only one of the patients had a cellphone but it was switched off. The samples were drawn from the patients who are believed to be around 10 years old at the outpatient ward of Stanley Medical College on March 28. Though officials insist that they have notified all private hospitals and clinics to be alert to symptoms, a few private doctors in the city said they haven’t received a specific notification from through email or paper.

"We test patients if they require hospitalization due to unabated high fever. It is not an epidemic as yet, but we have to be alert," said Ram Gopalakrishnan , an infectious diseases specialist at Apollo Hospitals.


Action Plan for Mega Mock-Drill on 15th February, 2012-DDMA (South Delhi)

Action Plan for Mega Mock-Drill on 15th February, 2012-DDMA (South Delhi) 

Read the brief action plan proposed from district South Delhi to conduct mega mock-drill on 15th February, 2012

Know How You Can Be A Part & Whom to Contact In Your Area For Delhi Mega Mock Drill :-

‘Flash Flood Risk Management – A Training of Trainers Manual’.

Unstable geological conditions and steep topography, combined with frequent extreme weather conditions, make the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region prone to many natural hazards. Among these, flash floods � severe flood events that occur with little warning � are particularly challenging for communities, threatening lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure. Vulnerable groups such as the poor, women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities are often the hardest hit. This Training of Trainers Manual is designed to help build the capacity of trainers in flash flood risk management, who can then disseminate the knowledge to a larger number of practitioners. The manual presents an eight-day course including a three-day field trip. Detailed lesson plans for 21 sessions are followed by resource materials that will enable the trainers to replicate the course in their own work areas.

Read in detail at :-

Preparing for the “Big One” in Nepal

Perched atop the Himalayas, Nepal faces multiple natural hazards, including annual floods, landslides, and avalanches, as well as periodic droughts, forest fires and disease epidemics. However, for the 28 million people of Nepal, the risk of earthquakes is what looms largest, in particular, the proverbial “big one”—an earthquake impacting urban areas that would eclipse those of recent memory.

Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu, with an estimated population between 3 million and 5 million, has not experienced a major earthquake in more than 75 years, and there is concern among seismologists that the city could be struck by an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or greater—at least 10 times as powerful as the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.

Similar to Haiti, Nepal is situated in a seismic zone that is capable of generating catastrophic earthquakes, and like Port-au-Prince, Kathmandu has experienced rapid urban development, including widespread construction of buildings considered too weak to withstand a powerful quake.

The importance of disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs is clearly evident in Nepal. These programs are used to prevent or decrease the impact of a disaster on a population, or to increase the ability of a community to withstand the disaster so it can recover more rapidly after the event. Since Nepal faces a number of hazards, an integrated U.S. Government approach to DRR, based on more than a decade of USAID engagement and now encompassing a “whole-of-government” effort, is being used to demonstrate best practices in disaster preparedness and mitigation.


Campaign cities share ideas for protecting world’s ancient sites

Byblos, with its ancient port dating back 5,000 years, is dotted by Phoenician, Roman and medieval ruins along the waterfront that municipal authorities now fear are in danger from sea storms.

“Heavy waves hit the heart of the harbour directly, damaging it,” explained Lisa Abou Khaled, from the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Disaster Risk Management Unit. 

When Byblos city official Tony Sfeir met counterparts from Venice at the Third Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May – convened by the UN disaster risk reduction office, UNISDR – he realized that the two cities faced the same dangers and obstacles. 

Like Byblos, Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage site, has a local economy related to tourism and to port activity, and share similar water-related risks. At the time of the Global Platform, Venice had just been recognized by UNISDR as a role model city for cultural heritage protection for its defence system against tidal floods. 


IDS / World Bank report calls for integration of Social Protection, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

A new report entitled Social Protection and Climate Resilience (pdf) highlights the importance of interaction among three areas of research and policymaking: social protection, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

The report argues that greater integration and knowledge sharing among these fields would allow policies to better address household poverty and vulnerability. Currently, researchers and practitioners in these fields often work independently. The report also calls for greater collaboration between civil society organisations, donors and governments.

The report summarises the outcomes of a three-day international event held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which brought together practitioners from the three fields.