With global disaster events increasing in magnitude and frequency, the need for disaster impact data collection and sharing is both urgent and continual in the effort to save lives, alleviate suffering and reduce economic damage. The systematic collection of information related to the frequency and impact of disasters is an important tool for governments and institutions in charge of relief and recovery activities, as well as for the integration of disaster risk analysis and reduction. The Asian region has historically faced many challenges brought by disasters, and remains nowadays the area most prone to natural disasters. Several initiatives aim at disaster preparedness and reduction in Asia, amongst them are invaluable local disaster data compilation initiatives that support the information management of disasters on a local and international level. In order to provide reliable disaster data, there is a need for adequate database structures, standardized methodology and operational approaches, and interoperable data formats. Improvement of disaster analysis, as well as increased visibility and access of disaster data, needs to be focused specifically on smaller, intra-country special scales and on an expanded scope, by including human and economic impact indicators. The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) hosts the EM-DAT database on natural and technological disasters. In EM-DAT disaster events and their human and economic impact are analyzed at a global level. National and sub-national databases provide disaster information at smaller, intra-country scales, and are complementary to the EM-DAT database. In the context of the Global Risk Identification Program (GRIP) of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) framework, sponsored by USAID/OFDA, CRED coordinates a collaboration activity with disaster data compilation initiatives in the Asian region. The present collaboration aims at the sharing of knowledge in order to improve the visibility, accessibility and applicability of disaster databases at regional level. This will be done by helping to reinforce disaster database structures and methodological and operational approaches. Capacity building is an essential component of this activity. The strengthening of disaster databases will eventually serve the global, international, and national humanitarian communities involved in disaster response planning and risk reduction.
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