Manila rolls out its La Niña Implementation Plan

The Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) rolled out the first phase of the city's La Niña Implementation Plan to ensure proper coordination and the safety of the general public.
In a statement, the MDRRMO said, its objectives include the conduct of risk assessment and analysis in all affected areas, determine vulnerabilities and provide continuous advisories and warnings to constituents on passable routes, evacuation centers, danger and safe zones as well as other pertinent information.
Under its implementation, MDRRMO will lead and organize teams to conduct emergency preparedness response and management operations. This includes support and close coordination with the department's Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
In line with this, MDRRMO will also conduct inspections for early warning systems to provide redundancy and avoid false alarms. This will pave way to the evaluation of the city's capabilities, inventory of its assets and available vehicles for response operations.
As a preventive measure, the Barangays together with the Department of Public Services (DPS) Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) and other agencies shall continue to conduct declogging operations and sewage maintenance activities to help control and minimize flooding in communities and main roads.
Earlier this year, the Manila City government purchased about 80 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) rescue boats which can effectively aid rescue operations and can be strategically deployed in low-lying areas.
According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Association (MMDA) Flood Control Division, there are 31 major creeks across the six districts, wherein 11 are in the first and second district; 9 in the third and fourth districts; and 11 in the fifth and sixth districts.
MDRRMO shall also be responsible in providing situational reports to the Office of the Civil Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council.
Meanwhile, the Manila Barangay Bureau shall provide manpower augmentation and maintain the peace and order within communities.
To assist in search and rescue operations and to lead fire emergency situations during La Niña, MDRRMO coordinated with the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Furthermore, DEPW shall assist in restoration of power lines to avoid accidents and cases of electrocution. The department shall also be in charge of construction of additional evacuation centers if deemed necessary.
Moreover, DPS shall deploy its personnel to conduct clean-up operations and maintenance activities in evacuation and rescue centers.
To ensure safe, secure and accessible evacuation sites, the Manila Department of Social Welfare (MDSW) shall provide temporary shelters for the evacuees. MDSW shall also be in charge of relief distribution and camp management.
The Manila Health Department (MHD) shall play a vital role in the provision of medical treatment and control procedures to ensure safety especially if the situation occurs during the pandemic outbreak.
Overall, MDRRMO shall coordinate, monitor and establish guidelines and measures to effectively prevent drastic effects, publish early forecasts to allow the local government to provide multi-sectoral support and mitigate environmental and economic risks.

UAE Cultivates the First Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) in the Arab Region

While the globe is facing challenging times and rapid changes due to disasters and the need to create risk-resilient societies is inevitable, the United Arab Emirates is leading the private sector engagement for disaster risk reduction by announcing the first ARISE initiative in the Arab region to achieve the outcomes and goals of the Sendai Framework in a transparent and inclusive way that delivers measurable impact.

This initiative is in conjunction with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) that works towards a resilient, prosperous future where fewer lives are lost to disasters, capital assets and investments are risk-informed, and infrastructure is resilient to natural and man-made hazards and advocates for risk-informed development by encouraging and supporting the private and public sectors to put in place policies and practices to reduce disaster risk and losses.

The UAE Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) kicked off yesterday with its first meeting at Burj Khalifa led by Mr. Sujit Mohanty the Chief of UNDRR Regional Office for the Arab States (ROAS), Dr. Mahmoud Al Burai the Vice President of International Real Estate Federation and Senior Advisor in Dubai Government, along with the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the UAE Dr. Dena Assaf and other senior officials from UNDRR.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Tariq Ahmed Nizami, Founder & CEO of CEO Clubs Network, Dr. Assad Farah, Dean School of Business Administration at American University in Dubai, Helen Chen CEO and Co-founder of Nomad Homes, Chris Roberts, CEO of Eltizam Asset Management Group, Mohammed Alsharaf, COO of Eltizam Asset Management Group, Mr. Fadi Nwilati, CEO of KAIZEN Asset Management, Mr. Ghassan Farouk Afiouni Managing Partner and Inventor MPI, Mr. Ahmed Riad, Managing Director Estmrarya Consulting, Dr. Raza Siddiqui, CEO Arabian Health Group and Zeina Abou Chaaban the Managing Parter of Palestyle.

“Today we are witnessing a remarkable movement convened by the UAE private sector to establish the first national ARISE in the Arab region and set the roadmap for other Arab countries. COVID19 has put a stark reminder to all of us that reducing risk of disasters whether natural, man-made or biological, has to be everyone’s business. This initiative will capitalize on the UAE private sector to promote risk-informed investments and to engage in business practices that build resilience and prevent new risks from being created” said Mr. Mohanty, Chief of UNDRR ROAS.

Dr. Mahmoud Burai said: “This initiative showcases the UAE leadership in founding a strong platform for the private sector to support and implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 and its commitment towards 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Paris Climate Agreement, New Urban Agenda and Agenda for Humanity. UAE ARISE will work closely with Dubai Police who is leading on Dubai Resilient and other local and federal governments to create risk-resilient societies by energizing the private sector in collaboration with the public sector and other stakeholders to achieve the outcomes and goals of the Sendai Framework in a transparent and inclusive way that delivers measurable impact.”

The United Nations Resident Coordinator for the UAE Dr. Dena Assaf said: “The United Nations has been working for the last 75 years around many global challenges, bringing awareness and progress across the planet and the UAE has always been a bastion of hope and resolve in the region. The UAE private sector’s role and engagement in disaster risk reduction not only ensures a more resilient and prepared society, but also enables accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”. Dr. Dena Assaf encouraged the members to contribute to the UN global conversation on the World We Want, and take the survey at www.UN75.online.

The first meeting agenda unfolded the UAE ARISE objectives, structure, voluntary action commitments and the workplan 2020-2021, while the board election announced HE Dr. Mahmoud Al Burai the Chair of the UAE ARISE, Co- Chair, Mr Ahmed Riad and the Vice Chair, Dr. Tariq Nizami.

Private sector experience in Japan: Supporting disaster preparedness for evacuations under COVID-19

The shared trauma and experiences of disasters over the decades have helped shape Japan’s unique disaster culture, where all segments of society contribute to disaster prevention and mitigation. The current COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception, and under the guidance and coordination of the central government, the private sector has emerged as a key player in supporting prevention and response efforts.

The Japanese government’s current response phase is focused on trying to keep society running while preventing the spread of the virus. This has been coined as the ‘With Corona’ phase.

One area that has received considerable attention under this phase has been the country’s disaster evacuation protocols. To ensure preparedness and evacuation measures do not inadvertently fuel the pandemic, the Disaster Management division of the Cabinet Office has released a series of practical guidelines, which have been compiled into a general manual document accompanied by YouTube tutorials.

One of the key recommendations is wider engagement with the private sector to support the implementation of the revised evacuation procedures. This is where the member companies of ARISE Japan – the Japanese branch of UNDRR’s partnership alliance of private sector entities committed to DRR – along with other private sector actors, are playing instrumental roles.

To satisfy physical distancing guidelines at disaster shelters while securing the necessary capacity, the government recommends that local governments tap locally available private-owned facilities, such as hotels. The dual-use of private-owned facilities in times of disaster is a well-established practice in Japan that pre-dates the pandemic. But under COVID-19, the practice is being urgently expanded. Responding to these calls, four major accommodation industry associations have announced the preparation of 1,256 facilities nationwide to serve as emergency evacuation shelters, according to ARISE Japan member, JTB Tourism Research & Consulting.

In Japan, cross-utilization of business facilities for DRR purposes is not limited to hotels. Across the nation, 55 metropolitan areas have been designated as ‘Special Districts for Urban Regeneration,’ where facilities, such as shopping complexes, serve necessary disaster preparedness functions such as evacuation shelters or supply depots.

The private sector is also playing a part in raising awareness and educating the public on the importance of reassessing their preparedness plans in light of the pandemic. Under ‘With Corona’ evacuation protocols, people are being asked to consider additional evacuation destinations, such as the homes of family and friends or the higher floors of structurally-sound buildings. To help with this, Japan Conservation Engineers & Co., the creators of the game EVAG - a role-playing game that tests evacuation behavior - updated their simulation script, which already accounted for pandemic disasters, to encourage players to consider alternative evacuation destinations.

In the area of risk communication and closing the “last-mile” gap, the private sector is supporting the delivery of accurate and up-to-date information. In Japan, where a significant information barrier exists for non-Japanese speakers, multi-language call centers such as the Japan Visitor Hotline for the Japan National Tourism Organization are working to reduce this vulnerability. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, BRICK’s Corporation, an ARISE member which operates the hotline, have handled a surge in calls from a few hundred per month before COVID, to over 1,000 calls per month, which peaked in March at 5,300 calls.

The private sector is also helping officials better understand the risk environment and vulnerabilities through market research. Since the start of the pandemic, Japan has experienced a major climate-related disaster in the form of the July heavy rains which affected multiple regions. Web-based surveys conducted across all 47 prefectures by Survey Research Center Co., an ARISE member, revealed areas for improvement in the evacuation protocols developed under the ‘With Corona’ phase. Specifically, the analysis showed that public expectations were unsustainably skewed towards greater reliance on local governments to provide infection control measures, and less on personal or community preparedness.

One reason Japan’s private sector is able to serve as a reliable government partner is thanks to the investments it made in building its own resilience. ARISE Japan member companies report that their existing pandemic scenarios for business continuity, along with peer-to-peer communication through networks such as ARISE, have helped them guide their decision-making during this crisis. Their priorities include maintaining a healthy and productive workforce and maintaining their social responsibilities as a stakeholder organization, as highlighted in the testimony of Ms. Sandra Wu, CEO of Kokusai Kogyo Co. Ltd., an ARISE member.

Tackling far-reaching disasters, like COVID-19, requires a multi-stakeholder approach that brings together the strengths of each sector to fill in the gaps and augment the government’s reach. The examples highlighted of ARISE Japan’s contributions in the area of evacuation preparedness is only one aspect of how the private sector is lending their expertise, resources, and capabilities to build resilience for all.

Australian Government launch consultation on protection of critical infrastructures

The Australian Government is committed to protecting the essential services all Australians rely on by uplifting the security and resilience of critical infrastructure.

The Government’s commitment to the continued prosperity of its economy and businesses is unwavering. The impacts of recent events only reinforce the need for collaboration between and across critical infrastructure sectors and Government to protect our economy, security and sovereignty.

At the same time, Government recognises the additional economic challenges facing many sectors and entities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome it seek is clear - they want to work in partnership to develop proportionate requirements that strike a balance between uplifting security, and ensuring businesses remain viable and services remain sustainable, accessible and affordable. An uplift in security and resilience across critical infrastructure sectors will mean that all businesses will benefit from strengthened protections to the networks, systems and services we all depend on.

An enhanced critical infrastructure framework

The primary objective of the proposed enhanced framework is to protect Australia’s critical infrastructure from all hazards, including the dynamic and potentially catastrophic cascading threats enabled by cyber attacks.

The enhanced framework outlines a need for an uplift in security and resilience in all critical infrastructure sectors, combined with better identification and sharing of threats in order to make Australia’s critical infrastructure – whether industry or government owned and operated – more resilient and secure. This approach will prioritise acting ahead of an incident wherever possible.

Government has agreed that the proposed enhanced framework will apply to an expanded set of critical infrastructure sectors, comprising of three key elements:

  1. Positive Security Obligation, including:
    a. set and enforced baseline protections against all hazards for critical infrastructure and systems, implemented through sector-specific standards proportionate to risk.
  2. Enhanced cyber security obligations that establish:
    a. the ability for Government to request information to contribute to a near real-time national threat picture;
    b. owner and operator participation in preparatory activities with Government; and
    c. the co-development of a scenario based ‘playbook’ that sets out response arrangements.
  3. Government assistance for entities that are the target or victim of a cyber attack, through the establishment of a Government capability and authorities to disrupt and respond to threats in an emergency.

These three initiatives will be underpinned by an enhanced Government-industry partnership across all hazards.

The Government intends to consult with stakeholders during and after receiving submissions. This will also allow us to assess the impact of proposed reforms and refine the development of the enhanced framework.

Further details can be viewed at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/reports-and-pubs/files/protecting-critical-infrastructure-systems-consultation-paper.pdf

Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Healthcare Market: Dynamics, Segments, Size and Demand, COVID-19 2022

Artificial intelligence(AI) is the creation of intelligent systems that can perform tasks without human interventions and instructions. It is the constellation of different technologies such as natural language processing, machine learning, perception and reasoning. These systems use computer algorithms, and huge amount of data to provide a response to a request. AI is being adopted in healthcare using algorithm and software for the analysis of medical data with a view to predict diseases and provide proper medication. It will lead to personalization and optimization leading to improved outcomes for both patients and healthcare systems. A basic AI computer used today in clinical practices can be used for alerts and reminder, diagnostic, therapy planning, Information retrieval and image interpretation. However, glitches in communication and technical infrastructure are amongst the barriers to the growth of AI in health care.

According to Infoholic Research, the “Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Market” is expected to reach $ 1,139.2 million by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 62.2% during the forecast period 2016–2022.The need of pre-operative planning, high costs associated with healthcare, adoption of mobile devices and rising chronic diseases amongst masses is driving the need of integrating AI in healthcare solutions. The AI market in healthcare has high growth opportunities due to rising needs of self-care and real-time monitoring.

Technology Analysis:

The AI technology is leading towards innovation of efficient and inexpensive healthcare solutions. The major technologies involved are natural language processing, machine learning, biometric security, speech recognition and disaster recovery. The technology providers are heading towards development of innovative products and solutions for end-users. At present, NLP market is having the major share with an estimated increase to $487.7 million by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 61.6%. The increase in adoption of cloud computing, internet and innovation in network connectivity is driving the adoption of NLP in healthcare sector. Besides, NLP the second most prominent technology in healthcare is machine learning which is expected to reach $223.7 million by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 61.9%. Based on end users, the market encapsulates diagnostic centres, hospitals and clinincs, R&D and healthcare institutes. AI finds wide application in precision medicine, real- time monitoring, drug development and personal health assistants.

Regional Analysis:

North America is leading in AI in healthcare market followed by Europe. Huge investments and strict governmental regulations is driving the growth in North America. One such initiative is Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(ACA), which is leading emphasis on cost management and integrated care delivery models. The European market is enhancing due to increased need of quality care and high cost burden associated with re-hospitalisation. The Benevolent AI, Google’s DeepMind, Skin Analytics are working for providing healthcare solutions in Europe. APAC region has high growth potential accompanied with high investment in the market especially India and China. The major part (40%) of digital transformation in APAC will be driven by AI by 2022. LAMEA is yet developing and growing in the region. The increased adoption of internet and mHealth is enhancing the growth of AI in the region.

Mass Care/Emergency Assistance Pandemic Planning Considerations Guide

FEMA announces an advisory document to examine the unique considerations when developing mass care and emergency assistance plans associated with a pandemic scenario. The processes discussed can be implemented by the jurisdiction without federal assistance or when federal assistance is requested and available. In this document, “jurisdiction” refers to local, state, tribe or territory, insular area and federal governments.

Further details and to download the document visit www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/188597

Red Cross Calls for Halt to Cyberattacks on Healthcare Infrastructure

The Red Cross has called on hackers and scammers to end their cyber-attacks on health facilities in a letter published.

The letter, also signed by a group of political and business figures, said that attacks endanger human lives, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and governments should take more “immediate and decisive action” to stop them.

Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, are among the 42 co-signers of the letter, which was initiated by the CyberPeace Institute.

In the letter, Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said: “We are hoping that the world’s governments will step up to affirm their commitments to the international rules that prohibit such actions.”

The calls come after an increase in cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure and healthcare facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic, with hackers and scammers eyeing an opportunity to take advantage of a complicated situation.

In April, Interpol warned that cybercriminals have been increasing attacks on healthcare systems, increasing ransomware attacks to hold hospitals to ransom during the spread of Covid-19, despite the work these facilities carry out to save lives.

Interpol Secretary-General, Jürgen Stock, commented: “As hospitals and medical organisations around the world are working non-stop to preserve the well-being of individuals stricken with the coronavirus, they have become targets for ruthless cybercriminals who are looking to make a profit at the expense of sick patients

“Locking hospitals out of their critical systems will not only delay the swift medical response required during these unprecedented times, but it could also directly lead to deaths.

“Interpol continues to stand by its member countries and provide any assistance necessary to ensure our vital healthcare systems remain untouched and the criminals targeting them held accountable.”