Building Leadership for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia START ProSus Magazine - November 2018

"The Pan-Asia Risk Reduction (PARR) fellowship program has greatly contributed to building a community and establishing momentum for collaboration on disaster risk reduction in the region."

Cheikh Mbow, Executive Director, START International

Fellows from seven countries participated in the Pan-Asia Risk Reduction (PARR) fellowship program, a yearlong fellowship experience which included an immersive one- to three-month stay at a host institution in Asia.

START led two fellowship rounds between 2014 and 2018, with the support of the United States National Science Foundation, the Oscar M. Lopez Center, USAID, the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research, the IRDR International Center of Excellence (ICoE) Taipei, and strategic direction from the PARR Alliance, a consortium of science-focused research, education, and capacity building institutions in Asia.



The city of Banda Aceh is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes due to its geography and location. A study of possible earthquake scenarios, and their effects on people and buildings, can provide precious insights to city officials and support disaster mitigation and preparedness plans.

Research by Ibnu Rusydy, Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC) of Syiah Kuala University, Indonesia


Tropical cyclones frequently hit the Philippines with heavy impacts on infrastructure, agriculture and communities. A mechanism to assess damages and losses is crucial in informing decision-making and policy development. This research is an attempt to evaluate both economic and non-economic losses due to floods.

Research by Justin Charles G. See, Manila Observatory, Philippines

PARR provides a cross learning experience to young professionals and practitioners. It is a unique process, which nurtures these young talents by engaging them in action research and exposing them to state-of-the-art disaster risk reduction facilities in the host institutes.

Rajib Shaw, Professor, Keio University and former Executive Director of IRDR (Integrated Research on Disaster Risk)


An average of nine typhoons hit the Philippines every year, affecting millions of people. Gathering, integrating and analyzing data on the impacts of typhoons would allow us to generate insights to support decision-making during extreme weather events as well as long-term disaster risk reduction planning.

Research by Maria Flordeliza P. Del Castillo, Manila Observatory, Philippines


Almost all of the cities of the Philippines are situated in proximity of rivers, with settlements along the waterways that are highly vulnerable to floods. Effective risk communication can help communities be better prepared and respond timely when disasters occur.

Research by Alvidon F. Asis, League of Cities of the Philippines


From left to right: Nurrohman Wijaya during an immersion program with an urban poor community in Quezon City, Philippines; Lubna Alam, with students at a flood-prone area University, raising awareness about water quality and actions that everyone can take to reduce water pollution; Alvidon F. Asis with Cotabato City officials and barangay captains, exchanging ideas on how to improve river management.
From left to right: Flordeliza Del Castillo during a visit to the Emergency Operations Center of Taipei City; Ibnu Rusydy during geological field work; Justin Charles G. See during a focus group discussion.


Rapid urbanization and climate-related disasters constitute challenges for peri-urban areas in Indonesia. Integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into development planning is essential to prevent and minimize the impacts of these challenges.

Research by Nurrohman Wijaya, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bandung Institute of Technology (URP-ITB), Indonesia


Recurrent floods have threaten the quality of the Pahang river water, which is used by over one and a half million people for drinking and domestic use. More engagement from all stakeholders could support the long-term success of water management programs, and ensure that the Pahang river continues to provide clean water to the local communities.

Research by Dr. Lubna Alam, LESTARI, National University of Malaysia

Unpacked: A field researcher's essentials

By Lubna Alam

Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, at the height of tropical storm Maring in August 2013. Photo: Justin Charles G. See

ProSus is a biannual e-magazine published by START International.

START provides opportunities for training, research, education and networking that strengthen scientific skills and inspire leadership for advancing solutions to critical sustainability challenges.


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