Disaster conference targets Asia

Disaster relief workers representing 13 different countries will meet in Hue City, Vietnam, on 25 August for the Asian Symposium on Disaster Impact and Assessment in Asia conference.

The three-day meeting, organized by the European Commission's disaster policy consortium MICRODIS, "aims to bring together academics, researchers, UN representatives, and NGOs to discuss ways to improve disaster impact and relief operations in the region", local organizer and Hue University professor, Tran Huu Tuan, told IRIN.

The symposium focuses on Asia because of the number and frequency of natural disasters experienced in the region. From 2000 to 2009, Asia accounted for 85 percent of all disaster-related fatalities, according to the World Health Organization's Emergency Events Database. In 2009, Asia accounted for six of the top 10 disasters in the world.

While disasters such as the recent Pakistani floods cannot be prevented, “it is only through timely preparations that the human and capital costs can be mitigated", MICRODIS project coordinator and University of Delhi professor PC Joshi said.