IDDR: About 15 schools from Thimphu thromde displayed their models for reducing disaster, which include disaster prevention, mitigation, and preparedness to observe the International Day for Disaster reduction (IDDR) yesterday at the Department of Youth and Sports auditorium in Thimphu.

Home minister Dawa Gyeltshen said IDDR is a day to observe how people and communities are reducing their exposure to disasters. Themed ‘Knowledge for Life,’ the day this year focuses on the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge.

“Disaster management is everyone’s responsibility and we all have to think seriously about how we can collectively put our diverse knowledge in saving lives from impending natural disasters,” Lyonpo Dawa Gyeltshen said.

Earthquakes, glacial lake outburst floods, floods or flash floods, landslides, forest or structural fires, windstorms, among others, are hazards Bhutan is prone to.

Home and Cultural affairs secretary Dasho (Dr) Sonam Tenzin said that the National Disaster Management Authority and Dzongkhag Disaster Management Committee are core institutions responsible for policy and decision making.

“However, sectorial duty bearing agencies and notified private sector are key actors in disaster management,” he said. “Disaster management requires clearer roles, responsibilities, functions and lines of accountability.”

Officials from various ministries presented the risks of hazards like windstorm, flood and earthquakes in Bhutan.

In 2009, Bhutan witnessed cyclone Aila precipitated floods throughout the country. The major earthquake in Mongar in the same year killed 12 people, followed by the Sikkim earthquake in 2011. Fires in Chamkhar town in 2011 and 2012 and windstorms in 2011, 2012 and 2013 are also some of the disasters the country witnessed over the past years.

Dechen Tshomo