Khammouane Province, Laos, 2017.

Rian (13) participated in a Red Cross training in Laos on 14 June, 2017, to share her experiences about floods and other disasters affecting her community as well as to learn how to better prepare for these disasters.

Throughout its work, Lao Red Cross, supported by International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as well as other partners, promotes community-based disaster risk reduction and community resilience.
October marked many key activities related to disaster risk reduction. Throughout this month, the Southeast Asian countries celebrated the commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) together with the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management (ADDM), to encourage people and governments to participate in building more resilient communities and nations. It was also the annual opportunity for the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to promote and remind the public of the importance of disaster risk reduction and, furthermore, to continue strengthening their recognition as key disaster risk reduction partner in countries.

IFRC and participating National Societies produced Community Voices videos to bring community voice to the forefront. Click each of the picture below to view the related videos. See also the report of the celebration led by Southeast Asian National Societies.

Regional level

At the regional-wide level, the ADDM was hosted and celebrated in Luangprabang, Lao PDR, back-to-back with the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), attended by the heads of National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs), Ministers from the nine ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Secretariat Office, Lao Provincial Governor and representatives from the government. Around 150 delegates convened in this event. In addition to an annual Ministerial Meeting, the exhibition showcasing good practices on disaster management and risk reduction from the region was organized. The IFRC’s Community Voices videos and booth featured related publications and QR code referenced materials drew great attention from the Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR and other Ministries.


At the country-level, Thailand was the first country to celebrate the IDDR day. The activity was organized on the 1st October at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center with the collaboration of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), the Relief and Community Health Bureau of the Thai Red Cross Society and other key partners. In remembrance for the late King Rama 9, the country set up the exhibition highlighting His Majesty’s work to build the resilience for the community under the theme “The King’s Philosophy on Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainability.” The short films screening and disaster risk reduction awareness raising materials from various key stakeholders were also disseminated during the event.


In Vietnam, despite flooding in many provinces, the country organized the IDDR Day celebration with relevant stakeholders and communities. This year, the awareness raising activities was organized in Vinh City of Nghe An province, which is one of the disaster-prone provinces and has the provincial disaster response team (PDRT). Around 350 participants including the provincial media and national media attended the celebration. The event also served as an opportunity to inform the public on the Vietnam Disaster Law and Viet Nam Red Cross (VNRC)’s disaster preparedness and response mechanism. Disaster law key messages on rights, roles and responsibilities (3R) of communities in disaster management were disseminated to the public along with the 3R calendars for community members.


In Timor Leste, the Government at a national and local level were strongly involved in IDDR Day celebration. The key messages about the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction were spread throughout the country before, during and after the event using various communication channels. Fifty banners showing what actions need to do in certain disasters were distributed to 25 villages across Timor. Media coverages included a press release published in the Timor Post newspaper, reports from RTM (Radio e Televizaun Maubere) and the National Television and radio (RTTL). Furthermore, Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (CVTL) in collaboration with GMN (Grupo Media Nasional) TV produced and broadcasted a television spot featuring Ex-President of Timor-Leste – Dr. José Ramos Horta. In addition, drill simulation exercise on the awareness of various hazard and disaster risk types, roles and responsibilities were also organized in Aileu municipality.


In Lao PDR, two activities were featured to celebrate the IDDR day. The first activity was the IDDR Day Television Talk Show, which was hosted by two well-known television announcers and broadcasted on the Lao National Television channel. Four key stakeholders including the Ministry of Social Welfare, OXFAM, Weather Forecast Bureau and Lao Red Cross were invited to discuss about their roles and works in disaster risk reduction. Two media outlets from Vientiane Times and Lao Phatthana newspapers reported about the event. The second activity was the Radio Q&A programme which aimed to target the public to raise their awareness on the IDDR day as well as disseminate the knowledge related to disasters and resilience issues. The programme was on air daily to the nationwide from 25 September until 19 October through the national radio.


In Myanmar, the IDDR Day celebration reached national, regional & local levels with nearly 6,000 people engaged. The pre – event for IDDR Day which was held on September 30, 2017 in the People’s park of Yangon City attracted around 2,000 people. It was the first time the event took place whole day. The Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) organized booth to display Disaster Risk Reduction photos and materials and raised awareness of disaster knowledge to the public with games and quizzes. The day was also celebrated with schools from Kyauktan, Hlaing and Thaketa townships of MRCS school safety projects. At the local level, community awareness activities on earthquake, fire, flood and storms were organized along with the essay and painting contest for students and celebration of township level.