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New Year message for 2013

At the beginning of 2013, let us look back the disasters during last year. The year 2012 was generally calm without mega-disasters as experienced in the past*. The final figures still being awaited, the number of the dead and the missing might be around ten thousands at the maximum and the affected around one hundred million, much smaller than previous years especially in terms of the dead and the missing**.

Exceptionally and unexpectedly a big disaster came towards the end of the year. Typhoon Bopha hit Mindanao, the Philippines, resulting in the most devastating disaster during the year with as many as 1,864 persons dead and missing. Most of them were victims of debris flows and other sediment-related disasters attributed to uncontrolled development, deforestation, illegal mining etc ***.

Devastation by Typhoon Bopha

The global tendency of natural disasters is that the human loss has been decreasing, while disaster occurrences, the affected people and economic loss have been increasing****. Despite this tendency, however, as you see in ISN under gSediment-related disasters in the worldh (the new one for 2012 will appear in April), sediment-related disasters have so far been occurring continuously without apparent decrease.

A fundamental issue is the increase in population in at-risk areas. To deal with this, land-use regulation should be applied more effectively and widely in each country. Massive deep landslides and landslide dams are issues closed up recently. Research on the mechanism and effective measures should progress further through international undertakings such as INTERPRAEVENT as well as through national efforts.

Let us take this opportunity to express sympathy to those who lost lives by disasters in 2012 as well as to so many people still suffering from impact of disasters occurred in 2012 and years before. Let us renew our commitment to realize resilient world so that casualties may be further reduced even with mega-catastrophes in the future.

ISN secretariat will make best effort to make ISN more useful for members in their works in respective countries. We wish all of you a great success for 2013 and years beyond.

*Mega-disasters in 2000-2012 ( Dead and Missing>50,000)

Year Countries Disaster Dead & Missing
2004 Countries in Indian Ocean Earthquake, Tsunami 229,700
2005 Pakistan Earthquake 74,700
2008 Myanmar Cyclone 138,400
2008 China Earthquake 87,500
2010 Haiti Earthquake 222,500
DRR White Paper of Japanese Government

**Comparison of impact between 2012 and ten years annual average during 2002-2011

Year 2012 Annual average
Number of the dead and the missing (persons) 6,295 112,060
Number of the affected (persons) 106,235,234 243,102,925
Economic loss (US$) 44,613,682 131,205,763
"EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database
www.emdat.be - Université Catholique de Louvain - Brussels - Belgium"
Devastation of once the center of Barangay Andap, Mindanao, the Philippines by Typhoon Bopha. Source: National Institute of Geographical Sciences, University of the Philippines

****Global tendency of disasters

"EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database
www.emdat.be - Université Catholique de Louvain - Brussels - Belgium"

Number of disasters reported 1900-2011

Number of disasters reported 1900-2011

Number of people reported affected by natural disasters 1900-2011

Estimated damages (US$billion) caused by reported natural disasters 1900-2011

First editorial meeting on 7 January 2013

January 2013

Hidetomi Oi

President, International Sabo Association