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First World Tsunami Awareness Day to be observed on Nov 5, says Indian Government release

The Conference will include various activities to raise awareness through thematic events, exhibitions, and distribution of awareness materials

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Tsunami hit area in India, Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 11, 2016: The First World Tsunami Awareness Day will be observed on November 5 during the upcoming Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016, a government release said on Wednesday.

The conference slated to take place here between November 2-5, is being organised by the government of India in collaboration with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). It will include various activities to raise awareness through thematic events, exhibitions, and distribution of awareness materials.

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“The observance of the day would help to spread awareness among people across the world in matters related to the dangers of tsunami and shall stress on the importance of early warning systems in order to mitigate damage from the often devastating natural hazard,” the release said.

“It also aims at reviving traditional knowledge about tsunamis,” it added.

India, along with 23 other Indian Ocean countries, participated in a tsunami mock drill on September 7-8. Besides increasing awareness, the drill evaluated the preparedness of participating nations to handle tsunami and other similar emergency situations.

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Following the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 that killed 230,000 people in 14 countries, the Indian government established an Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) under the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) at Hyderabad.

The centre, operational since October 2007, has state-of-the-art infrastructure for generating and disseminating tsunami bulletins for the entire Indian Ocean region.

On November 5, 1854, a villager in Wakayama prefecture, Japan, was concerned about an impending tsunami after a high-intensity earthquake. He set on fire rice sheaves on the top of a hill.

Fellow villagers, who went atop to put off the fire, were saved even as a tsunami destroyed their village down below.

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To commemorate that day of “Inamura no Hi” (the burning of rice sheaves), a resolution was jointly proposed by 142 countries, including Japan, as a follow-up of the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The UN designated November 5 as the World Tsunami Awareness Day. (IANS)

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Divert a Portion of Peacekeeping Budget to Under-Funded Peace-Building Activities: India

India highlights huge mismatch b/w funds for peacekeeping & peace-building among challenges for sustaining peace

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un human rights council
UN General Assembly elect 15 new members of Human Rights Council. Wikimedia
  • The 2017-18 UN budget for peacekeeping operations is $7.3 billion
  • Peacekeeping operations rely on the deployment of troops contributed by member-nations to try to physically prevent conflict
  • Peace-building and finding political solutions require civilian developmental, diplomatic and institution-building resources

United Nations, Aug 30, 2017: India has suggested diverting a portion of the peacekeeping budget to the under-funded peace-building activities because there can be lasting peace only with development and political solutions.

Criticising UN peacekeeping, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal called on Tuesday for reforming the operations to align them with peace-building objectives and finding political solutions to conflicts — a view shared by UN experts and several countries, including the US.

“There is an obvious lack of appropriate investment into the political dialogue and a huge mismatch between resource allocation for peacekeeping and peace-building,” he told a Security Council debate on peacekeeping and sustaining peace.

While this problem was acknowledged, only lip service was paid finding the resources, he said.

Lal noted that only meagre resources are now available for development programmes and peace-building is allocated less than one per cent of the funds set aside for peacekeeping.

The 2017-18 UN budget for peacekeeping operations is $7.3 billion.

Therefore, he said: “We may consider whether the allocation of an appropriate percentage of funds from the peacekeeping budget to activities related to peace-building and sustaining peace in those situations could be an option to move forward to achieve sustaining peace in the various intra-state conflicts we are facing.”

“The long extending peacekeeping missions that go on for decades and elusive political solutions remind us the need to focus on long-term investment in sustainable development or institution building and inclusive political processes,” he added.

While peacekeeping operations rely on the deployment of troops contributed by member-nations to try to physically prevent conflict, peace-building and finding political solutions require civilian developmental, diplomatic and institution-building resources.

Lal welcomed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s idea of ensuring greater cooperation between different departments of the UN, in particular bringing together the department of political affairs and peacekeeping operations for closer internal coordination, to effectively carry out its role of ensuring peace and security.

The Chair of Advisory Group of Experts on UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review, Gert Rosenthal, pointed out that organisationally the responsibilities for peacekeeping and development were split between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.

“While there is considerable overlapping in carrying out these functions, generally the traditional ‘pillars’ of peace, human rights and development do operate in the proverbial ‘silos’ we all sadly have become accustomed to,” he said.

Also Read: UN Human Rights Chief Urges Iraqi Government to help Victims of Islamic State (ISIS) Sex Abuse 

“Peacekeeping missions alone cannot produce lasting peace,” US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley said.

“They can help create space for peace to take hold, but they must be a part of a larger strategy of coordinating the resources of the UN to prevent conflict to begin with and to address its causes,” she said.

Haley called for “a larger strategy of coordinating the resources of the UN to prevent conflict to begin with and to address its causes”.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that the Security Council should set realistic, up-to-date mandates that also have the flexibility to evolve over time.

“Looking ahead, we must work together to ensure that peacekeeping lives up to its full potential as an essential tool for sustaining peace, not in isolation, but as part of our new, integrated approach,” she said.

Lal also drew attention to a major challenge to peacekeeping which has changed its very nature — armed conflicts taking place within a country often involving non-state actors and international terrorist networks.

A member of the UN’s High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, Youssef Mahmoud, acknowledged this fact. He said: “Given that the drivers of instability tend to be transnational in origin and effect, the analysis should assess the drivers of peace and conflict from a regional perspective.” (IANS)

 

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Inspired by Sunflower, Solar Energy ‘Flower’ Device with 12 solar power panel Petals Harvests Clean Energy

The solar panel unit is designed by drawing inspiration from the structure of a sunflower

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Solar power panel
The Smartflower System. VOA
  • Built with the aesthetic structure inspired by a sunflower, the stunning device is engineered with 12 solar power panel petals
  • Each of the power unit of the solar panel is easily commutable
  • The very first ‘Smartflower’ system was set up at a school, in order to show people the necessity of using clean energy

Washington, August 15, 2017: It is not a piece of modern art even though it looks so, but in the land of Philippines this magnificent piece of device is actually an award-winning piece of the solar power device. It is designed by drawing inspiration from the structure of a sunflower. Built with the aesthetic structure inspired by a sunflower, the stunning device is engineered with 12 solar power panel petals of which, each is built with an area 59 square meter. The device attracts the energy of the sun, soaking the solar power from the light-rays as the power petals oscillate during the day.

ALSO READ: US Researchers develop Novel Brain Imaging Technology that can “Read Minds”, Identify Complex Thoughts

The president of the ‘Smartflower Pacific’- John McEnroe was quoted as saying to VOA News that people can showcase to his friends, business partners, colleagues, and competitors, with the aspect of this device that they are wholeheartedly dedicated and committed to the cause of going green, by means of sustainable development approaches.

Each of the power unit of the solar panel is easily commutable. To the surprise of people, it has been engineered and programmed to function autonomously. During the sunrise the system opens and “blooms” to expand the petals in order to soak the energy from the light-rays of the sun. It also shuts down on its own during sundown, closing its power petals past the sunset. It is engineered with supreme sensors that can detect a bad weather and shut down on its own, such as- during heavy rain.

The very first ‘Smartflower’ system was set up at a school, in order to show people the necessity of using clean energy, mentioned VOA report.

Arnold Capuloy, from the De La Salle Lipa School was quoted as giving a statement to VOA that in order to share with people their ideology and their advocacy, as to the reason for using such a device, is the cause of introducing the device to the public by displaying it in a school for the first time. The students are also quite enthusiast and feel the same way.

Electrical Engineering student Christien Becios was quoted as saying “we really want to save the energy and also the environment at the same time”. Even though half the power in Philippines is generated by using other resources- the ‘Smartflower’ technology offers a cleaner option for generating electricity. Not only that, but it is also a renewable, sustainable, and eco-friendly source of electricity.

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Exclusive: Documentary ‘The Absent House’ talks about the Need of Sustainable Development

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‘The Absent House’
A still from the documentary ‘The Absent House’
  • The movie is directed by Ruben Abruna and was showcased by CMS Vatavaran at India Habitat Centre
  • The documentary is based on how Fernando got the idea of doing more with less from Buckminister Fuller and built a house that has no roof
  • In the times of climate change happening so fast, ‘The Absent House’ delivers a message that we can live without harming the environment 

June 29, 2017:

Is there a need at all to show some accountability for sustainable development? How will it affect the modern world? Well, needless to say, we have to do lots to save up resources for the future generations and not wasting them. NewsGram got in touch with CMS Vatavaran on the film “The Absent House”.

What is sustainable development?

Well, sustainable development is one such form of development that consists of usage of energy resources that can be used again and again without harming the environment so that the planet can be saved for the future generations to come. The term sustainable development came into being when people understood the fact that the resources they are using are not environment-friendly and they need to save the planets for their future generations to come and perish on this planet just like we did.

Nowadays, a lot of discussions are going on for sustainable development in India and CMS Vatavaran is one such foundation which works for the environment. It showcased its documentary film ‘The Absent House’ from the annual film festival at the India Habitat Centre on 19th June 2017. The film is based on the Puerto Rican architect Fernando Abruna Charneco who made his home without roofs and giving priority to our very own mother nature. People called him crazy for being a visionary on the making a house without a roof but they didn’t understand the purpose behind it but when they understood about the project, many people have started considering him as a true visionary towards climate change.

The documentary is based on how Fernando Abruna Charneco got the idea of doing more with less from Buckminster Fuller, who invented the Dymaxion Car and Geodesic Dome. The house that Fernando built has no roofs but that is for the room to be properly ventilated and being lit most of the time. So that is would not be wasting energy. He also made the house in a way that it doesn’t require any water or electricity. All the water is stored from the rainwater and the electricity is supplied by the sun so that the resources do not contribute to pollution of the environment. Even the toilets are water free so that the water isn’t wasted.

In the times of climate change happening so fast, ‘The Absent House’ delivers a message that we can live without harming the environment by sustainable development and can leave the earth and resources for the future generation.

The movie is directed by Ruben Abruna and was showcased by CMS vatavaran who is going to host their 9th edition of CMS vatavaran film competition and the organisation CMS (Centre for Media Studies) is a non-profit development research and facilitative think tank which works towards responsible governance and equitable development.

– Reported by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi