ICHARM -- The International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management

In our periodical newsletter, we continue our focus on providing our national and international partners and colleagues with up-to-date information on the progress of our activities at ICHARM.
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Vol2.-No.2 Issue No.5
What's in this issue
Mt. Tsukuba & ICHARM/PWRI
PWRI Main Building and Mt. Tsukuba
(July 2007)
  1. Message from the Director
  2. Recent Report
    1. Survey on Quake/Tsunami Damage in the Solomon Islands on 2nd April, 2007
  3. Research
    1. 5th Annual Mekong Flood Forum (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; 17th-18th May, 2007)
    2. Flood Hazard Map Help Desk (FHM-HD) has been launched
    3. Symposium for Advances in River Engineering (Tokyo, Japan; 7th-8th June, 2007)
  4. Training
    1. Introduction of "Comprehensive Tsunami Disaster Prevention Training Course" at UN/ISDR conference (Colombo, Sri Lanka; 25th-26th April, 2007)
    2. New Master's Program: "Disaster Management Policy Program (Water-related Risk Management Course)"
    3. Town Watching Exercise (Kurihashi, Japan; 5th-8th June, 2007)
  5. Attended International Event
    1. PIARC Seminar (Cartagena, Colombia; 3rd-4th May, 2007)
    2. UNESCO Trust Fund Review Meeting (Jakarta, Indonesia; 23rd-24th May, 2007)
    3. 1st UNESCO Water Centers Directors Meeting (Delft,Netherlands; 11th-12th June, 2007)
    4. UNESCO-IHE 50th Anniversary Symposium (Delft, Netherlands; 13rd-15th June, 2007)
  6. Coming Events
1. Message from the Director

The first session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, hosted by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), was held from 5th-7th June, 2007 at the Geneva International Conference Center in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the first follow-up meeting on assessment of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) implementation based on the agreement concluded at the UN/ISDR conference in Kobe, January 2005. On the first day, the Geneva Conference Center was filled with approximately 1000 participants with high expectations for positive outcomes. Mr. John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, was a splendid chair and concisely summarized the presentations and discussions on the last day of the conference.

The underlying understanding shared by all the conference participants was that adaptation to climate change is a truly impending issue to address. The recent IPCC4 report warns that climate change is a problem of the present, not the future. In fact, fueled by extreme meteorological phenomena caused by climate change, water-related disasters, now accounting for 80% of the total disasters, are increasing in number and magnitude and demand urgent preventive measures. The conference contended the need of a paradigm shift that disaster risk reduction must be mainstreamed in society by firmly including it as an integral part of any development and/or environmental conservation actions. Participants repeatedly voiced their views concerning mainstreaming disaster risk reduction, for instance, by legislation through strong political leadership, by institutionalization, or by implementation of a fund allocation system by which a certain portion of a donor fund for development is always allocated to disaster risk reduction. Chair Holmes mentioned this very point in his Chair's Summary. This is of great significance for ICHARM, too.

Coincidentally, this issue of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction was also brought up in the proposal, entitled "Construction of Secure and Safe Society against Global Changes of Natural Disasters," presented by the Science Council of Japan this past May. The proposal states first and foremost that a paradigm shift is needed in prioritizing "structuring a safe and secure society" over "short-term economic effectiveness" considering how to deal with natural disasters in the future as natural environment changes and social and national land structures become vulnerable.

The Hyogo Framework clearly shows what concrete actions we need to take. It is an action plan, not a set of retrospective view of what people should have done in past disasters. Now is the time to put the framework into action. Voices for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction is nothing but a statement that entire society needs to be geared toward a disaster-conscious one and that disaster risk reduction needs to be given a higher political priority. To this end, we at ICHARM intend to provide convincing scientific information, develop technologies for implementation, and train competent experts and practitioners.

We are already working on all those areas, but to be successful in them, we need to collect data on disasters from countries and regions throughout the world, integrate state-of-the-art technologies from different scientific fields, facilitate good communications with local disaster-related experts and practitioners, and provide human capacity building programs. Also, multilateral cooperation both at home and abroad is necessary to make those activities happen. In particular, domestic cooperation is a must, without which international cooperation cannot exist, and is imperative for ICHARM to mainstream disaster risk reduction. We will address the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction in every aspect possible, such as science, practice, human and financial resources. We therefore sincerely ask for continued support from individuals and organizations to build and implement stronger partnerships with us.


Dr. Kuniyoshi Takeuchi
Director of ICHARM


2. Recent Report
Survey on Quake/Tsunami Damage in the Solomon Islands on April 2 ,2007

The Solomon Islands
click to enlarge

A strong quake of magnitude of 8.1 hit the Solomon Islands and the nearby areas at 7:40 a.m. Monday, April 2, 2007. The seismic center was located just off shore at a depth of 10 km at 8.481 South latitude and 156.978 East longitude. The islands, especially the Western Province, suffered a magnitude of damage by a subsequent quake-induced tsunami. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) dispatched a project-formation survey team to assess the local needs for recovery and reconstruction projects. Mr. Tanaka, Senior researcher, participated in this team, which stayed on the islands from April 18th to May 2nd.

The most damage occurred in Gizo City, a city on the northern part of Ghizo Island that is located 350 km WNW of Honiara (the capital of the Solomon Islands, which is located on Guadalcanal Island). According to the Hokkaido University survey team, the tsunami height was about one meter at the center of Gizo City, while it reached up to five meters in the southern part of the island. The tsunami reached its highest, about nine meters, when hitting Simbo Island, south-west of Ghizo Island. The tsunami height wasn't so high at Ranunga Island, north of Simbo Island, because the island had been lifted 2.0 m to 3.4 m due to the earthquake.

The number of casualties in the Western Province was 33 in Ghizo, 9 in Simbo, 2 in Ranunga, 2 in Vella Lavella, and 6 in the Choiseul Province.

Most of the deaths were caused by the tsunami, and half of them were children. Residents of the Western Province live along the sea coast because they generally make a living from the sea. However, the number of dead was relatively low despite the tsunami size; because right behind their living areas lie hills, residents were able to quickly take refuge on higher ground before the tsunami attack.

Local people have general knowledge about tsunamis because it has been passed on from generation to generation and is broadcasted on the radio. Some people started evacuation when they saw the seawater recede or saw the tsunami coming in the distance after the earthquake. In one village, all of the residents were safe because the village leader warned them to evacuate. Also, because people in general make a living from the ocean, they were quick to notice that something was wrong with the seawater receding toward the offshore and were able to flee as early as possible.

It was 20 days after the tsunami disaster when the JICA survey team visited the affected sites, but people who escaped the disaster were still forced to camp out on the hilly areas. Seeing that the refuge sites faced problems of food, water, and hygiene definitely reminded us that it is imperative to prepare safe and secure evacuation sites for opportunities like this.

The houses in the affected areas look resistant to ocean-related disasters since they are usually built in the piloti style. However, they vary in the elevation of floor and building structure, and are actually vulnerable to such disasters as tsunamis and storm surges, which rarely occur. It is highly likely that areas of similar characteristics exist all around the Pacific region. It is urgently needed that precautionary measures are taken in those areas.

Related information
JICA Survey Report
River Bureau Report



Titiana Village (Ghizo Island), totally devastated by the tsunami


Sasamunga Village (Choiseul Island)


Destruction seen on the southern side of the Gizo Hospital


Tsunami mark can be seen at a height of the woman's head (Sasamunga, Choiseul Island)

3. Research
i. 5th Annual Mekong Flood Forum (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; May 17-18, 2007)

The 5th Annual Mekong Flood Forum was held on 17th - 18th May 2007 at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This annual forum sets a certain theme to discuss and make presentations on. The theme chosen this year was "Improving Inputs towards Medium Term Flood Forecasting and Warning in the Mekong Basin."

Dr. Takeuchi, Director, Dr. Hapurachchi, Speciality Researcher and Mr. Inomata, Researcher in Hydrologic Engineering Research Team attended the forum on behalf of ICHARM. Dr. Takeuchi presented on "GEOSS Initiative and the Flood Forecasting System of the Mekong River Basin," while Dr. Hapuarachchi presented on "Hydrologic Modeling of the Mekong River Basin Using the BTOPMC Model." Mr. Inomata presented about ICHARM activities.

ICHARM technologies and activities were


successfully introduced to the people of the riparian countries in the Mekong River Basin through our attendance and presentations.

ii. Flood Hazard Map Help Desk (FHM-HD) has been Launched

Aiming to support practitioners, who are looking for technical supports regarding the development and implementation of Flood Hazard Map especially in developing countries, ICHARM has established a "Flood Hazard Map Help Desk (FHM-HD)". It can be accessed via ICHARM Homepage. On the same website, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and related answers will be updated in a regular basis.

Therefore, it is requested to read FAQ to get


possible answers. If it is required to ask additional or new questions, link for the Online Inquiry Form is provided on the same site.

ICHARM will try to reply individual inquiry in time and will also update the same information on FAQ column for future reference. It is hoped that the FHM-HD can provide best platform for practitioners especially from developing countries to get best answers to their technical questions in the right time and in the right manner.

iii. Symposium for Advances in River Engineering (Tokyo, Japan; June 7-8, 2007)

The Symposium for Advances in River Engineering was held on 7th - 8th June 2007 at the Yayoi Auditorium Ichijo Hall in the University of Tokyo. Mr. Inomata, Researcher of Hydrologic Engineering Research Team, attended the symposium and made a poster presentation named "Development of a System for Estimating Flood Risk in the Yoshino River Basin." This was the result of a contract research from the Shikoku Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land


Infrastructure and Transport in the fiscal year 2005.

Mr. Inomata was given the poster presentation award for this presentation. With this system, by using radar rainfall data and distributed runoff model (PWRI distributed model), not only the main stream discharge of the Yoshino River but also its tributary discharges can be estimated accurately. The system also incorporates a feedback method and a user friendly interface.

4. Training
i. Introduction of "Comprehensive Tsunami Disaster Prevention Training Course" at UN/ISDR conference (Colombo, Sri Lanka; April 25-26, 2007)

In January 2005, immediately after the disaster caused by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004, the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) was held at Kobe and adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) to globally promote disaster prevention. Recently, along with this framework, UN/ISDR hosted a conference on disaster risk reduction in cooperation with the government of Sri Lanka, one of the countries severely affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami. In this conference, a number of organizations involved in disaster prevention in Sri Lanka gathered and discussed the direction of disaster prevention enhancement, including the development and utilization of tsunami warning systems.


The conference also served as an opportunity to identify the need for supportive measures within the UN/ISDR framework.

Mr. Terakawa, Deputy Director, participated in the conference and gave a presentation about the outline of "The Comprehensive Tsunami Disaster Prevention Training Course," proposed by ICHARM as a supportive measure using the ISDR framework. ICHARM is planning to start this training course in fiscal year 2008 in cooperation with other organizations, inviting a total of 16 practitioners from India, Indonesia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.


Venue: the Bandernaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo


Participants to the conference were from a wide range of governmental and non-governmental organizations related to disaster risk reduction.

ii. New Master's Program:
"Disaster Management Policy Program (Water-related Risk Management Course) "

To ensure efficiency in water-related risk management, structural and non-structural measures should be well-balanced. However, in developing countries where budget and human resources are limited, the number of experts with advanced knowledge and techniques is limited. Thus, training is urgently needed for practitioners in this field.

For that purpose, ICHARM will start a new Master's program, "Disaster Management Policy Program (Water-related Risk Management Course)," from this October in collaboration with the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). The course will also be conducted in collaboration with a training course, "Training for Expert on Flood-related Disaster Mitigation," offered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Both the students of GRIPS and the trainees of JICA will attend the same lectures together.

The ultimate goal of the course is to promote solutions for water-related disasters in developing


countries, and the trainees will be expected to promote projects for flood-related disasters in their countries with the techniques and knowledge they will learn in this training course.
The characteristics of the course are as below:

  • Problem-solving oriented
  • A master's degree to be conferred in a year
  • Practical rather then theoretical

  • The curriculum of the course consists of lectures, such as "Disaster management Policy," "Integrated Flood Risk Management," "Hydraulics," "Hazard Mapping & Evacuation Planning," as well as hands-on training sessions. In parallel with them, each trainee and student is required to write a master thesis by next September. The trainees of JICA will be expected also to promote "capacity development" in their organizations/countries. To this end, the JICA trainees are to write project proposals for their required theses.

    iii. Town-Watching Exercise (Kurihashi, Japan; June 5-8, 2007)

    Town-watching is a process of realizing disaster management contexts from a view point of different stakeholders by observing and comparing the scenario in the field. A four days long town-watching training module was conducted from June 5th, 2007 for the participants of Disaster Management training course, which has been organizing by Japan International Cooperation Agency in Osaka. This intensive course was comprised of a) a lecture on Flood Hazard Mapping by Dr. Osti, Speciality Researcher, b) one day town-watching exercise in Kurihashi, Saitama Japan, c) information compilation and analysis by participants and, d) group discussion and group presentation. Dr. Ogawa, Professor of Fuji-Tokoha University, who is also an expert of Town-watching, guided the exercise.

    Kurihashi town was severely flooded during Katheleen typhoon in 1947 and since then, Kurihashi town office and Japanese Government have been extensively working to mitigate the risk of any probable flood events in the area. In addition to the structural measures, flood hazard map and warning systems are well adopted. Flood hazard maps have been distributed to each household in the locality, aiming to raise awareness among people and to facilitate safe and smooth evacuation in the case of emergencies. Participants of


    Town-watching exercise visited the town office and received briefings on the issues and current flood preparedness activities. The participants acquired hands-on experience by walking around the designated places in the city. They observed the local situation by their own eye, asked questions to the public concerning their know-how and expectations, observed facilities, accessed critical places including evacuation centres, checked necessary rules and regulation etc.

    All together 9 participants from China, Nepal, Maldives, Peru, Saint Vincent & the Gredadines and Tonga took part in the exercise. They were divided into 3 small groups and dispatched to the different locations in the city with facilitators. They discussed their findings in a group while town watching. Information from town-watching was later compiled and the major findings were synthesized, which later presented in a group discussion session. They played proactive role during the whole tenure and were able to put several genuine comments on the existing flood hazard maps and its application. It is hoped that the participants acquired basic knowledge on Flood Hazard Mapping and on overall flood hazard management that can be used to solve problems in their home countries.


    Interview to residents living in Kurihashi town


    General discussion

    5. Attended International Events
    i. PIARC Seminar (Cartagena, Colombia; May 3-4, 2007)

    The International Seminar on Risk Management for Roads was held by the Risk Management Committee of the World Road Association (PIARC). Mr. Terakawa, Deputy Director, participated in the seminar and delivered the keynote speech in the opening session.

    He explained integrated flood risk management for urbanized river basins in Japan with some specific examples. He also outlined various activities in which ICHARM takes the initiative to contribute to the prevention and mitigation of water-related disasters throughout the world. Interestingly, according to the results of the questionnaire survey conducted by the seminar's secretariat, floods


    were ranked top as the natural disaster that they most need to address in terms of risk management for reliable road services.

    On the way back home, Mr. Terakawa visited the US Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources (IWR) and exchanged opinions and information with Dr. Eugene Stakhiv, one of the ICHARM Advisory Board members, on the possible future research collaboration toward the prevention and mitigation of water-related disasters. ICHARM concluded an MOU for research collaboration with IWR in July 2006.


    PIARC seminar was held at the Centro de Formacion de la Cooperation Espanola, Cartagena


    Dep. Dir. Terakawa visited Dir. Pietrowski (left) and Dr. Stakhiv (right) at IWR, Washington DC.

    ii. UNESCO Trust Fund Review Meeting (Jakarta, Indonesia; May 23-24, 2007)

    The review meeting was held at the UNESCO Jakarta Office to discuss the results and future directions concerning UNESCO trust fund projects. Dr. Takeuchi, Director, participated in the meeting as a committee member with Mr. Terakawa, Deputy Director, as an observer, who introduced the outline of ICHARM and its recent activities at the beginning


    of the second day's meeting. The meeting was also a great opportunity to exchange comments and opinions with officials from both the UNESCO Headquarters and the Jakarta Office about the multilateral cooperation through the UNESCO-led network, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.


    The meeting was held at UNESCO Jakarta Office.


    Dir. Gijzen of UNESCO Jakarta Office (left) and Dir. Takeuchi

    iii. 1st UNESCO Water Centers Directors Meeting (Delft, Netherlands; June11-12, 2007)

    The meeting of the title was held at IHE immediately prior to the IHE Silver Jubilee Symposium and Ceremony on 13-15 June 2007. Eleven representatives from UNESCO water centers including those still in the final stage of official start and more than 20 related participants such as from UNESCO, WWAP, IWR were gathered.

    The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and finalize "the draft strategy for UNESCO's water-related institutes and centres" produced by the task force met in Geneva on 1-2 February 2007. This was due to mushrooming of a number of category II centers and a need of collaboration was instructed by Resolution XVII-7 "The development of a strategy for UNESCO's category I and category II water-related institutes and centres" adopted by the 17th session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council in July 2006.

    The participants were welcomed by the IHE Rector Richard Meganck and IHP Secretary Andras Szollosi-Nagy opened the meeting. Ms Dalal Alnaggar, Director of the Regional Centre of Training and Water Studies of Arid and Semi-arid Zones (RCTWS) in Cairo, Egypt was elected as the Chair. First, all the eleven centers' directors made a brief introduction of their centers. Then, separating into three working groups, the themes on Cooperate image, Networking and Evaluation/Reviewing processes were discussed.


    In the next day, discussion continued in the plenary on the report of the separate WGs which lead to a set of agreements of the directors, which include the follows:

    1)The overall mission of UNESCO's water-related institutes and centres is to address water security and water-related challenges by regional and global action, through new knowledge, innovative technologies, collaborative interdisciplinary scientific research, networking, training and capacity development, within the framework of the IHP.
    2)While each category 1 or 2 institute or centre will have continued functional autonomy, it will be part of a network that would have a recognizable visual identify.
    3)While recognizing diversity, equity and ownership of each water-related institute and centre, they will work together to contribute to the strategic programme objectives of UNESCO and its IHP as well as WWAP, through maximizing the level of cooperation and the synergy among them.
    4)It is imperative that a means of assessing and evaluating the performance of centres be established to determine whether centres are meeting the expectations of the IHP Intergovernmental Council and contributing to UNESCO's strategic programme objectives and the needs of the host government.
    iv. UNESCO-IHE 50th Anniversary Symposium (Delft, Netherlands; June 13-15, 2007)

    Mr. Terakawa, Deputy Director, participated in the three-day international symposium entitled "Water for a Changing World - Enhancing Local Knowledge and Capacity," hosted by UNESCO-IHE as part of its 50th anniversary this year.

    UNESCO-IHE is one of the 12 UNESCO-IHP centers located in different parts of the world and plays a key role in human resource development in water-related fields. The symposium provided a great opportunity for a broad range of professionals


    in water-related fields to exchange ideas and opinions regarding human resource development to solve global water issues.

    During the 50th anniversary celebration ceremony held on the last day, Prof. Alaerts of IHE summarized the outline of the Symposium, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, Chair of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, delivered a speech highlighting the importance of international efforts to solve water issues.


    The 50th anniversary poster of UNESCO-IHE is shown in the signboard of the IHE headquarters entrance.


    IHE 50th anniversary commemorative symposium was held at the auditorium of IHE


    Dance performance by professors and students of IHE at the celebration ceremony at the Theatre de Veste in Delft City center was highly applauded by the audience.

    6. Coming Events

    A new master's program, "Disaster Management Policy Program (Water-Related Risk Management course)", will start from October 2007 to September 2008 in collaboration with the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). The program will also be conducted jointly with JICA's training course, "Training for Expert on Flood-Related Disaster Mitigation".


    The 4th "Flood Hazard Mapping" training course will be held from October 28, 2007 to December 1, 2007 in collaboration with JICA.


    The Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) will be held at Beppu, Kyusyu, on 3rd -4th December 2007. ICHARM is designated by the APWF secretariat as the lead organization of the "Disaster Management" theme.



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    (ICHARM) under the auspices of UNESCO

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