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On 8 and 9 October 1998, the United Nations University (UNU) and the International Centre for Disaster-Mitigation Engineering (INCEDE) of the University of Tokyo are jointly holding a public forum, “Information: Too Much… Too Little… The Role of Communication Media in Disaster Reduction,” at the University of Tokyo's Yasuda Hall. This public forum will focus on information flows and their deficiencies, and look for ways to improve existing resources as well as the use of new media to optimize information flow for effective disaster management.

The United Nations has designated this decade as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) to reduce the loss of life, property damage, and social and economic disruption caused by natural hazards. The IDNDR Secretariat has been organizing the UN World Disaster Reduction Campaigns to make people aware, world-wide and across all professional and social sectors, of what they can do to protect their communities from natural hazards. The campaigns are based on a different theme each year. The theme of 1998 is “Natural Disaster Prevention and the Media,” with the goal of enlisting the media as working partners in promoting natural disaster prevention measures. This public forum supports this important initiative.

The public forum will bring together high-level international experts on disaster mitigation as well as media representatives. In this information age, it is unclear whether the available communication media are used effectively for assimilation and dissemination of information that would help protect people and help disaster managers to act more effectively.

The most important point in information coverage is understanding the basic needs of information users at different phases of disaster mitigation. Considering current information generation, information overload or deficiencies in various phases of disaster mitigation are observed. From the present practices of information generation and dissemination, possible improvements can be identified. The forum seeks to provide guidelines for disaster information policy and to identify key areas for utilization of new media.

The programme of the open lecture/public forum is attached hereto. Simultaneous interpretation in English and Japanese will be provided.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend the lecture/public forum.

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For further information, please contact:
    UNU Public Affairs Section
    Tel.: (03) 5467–1243, –1246    Fax : (03) 3406–7346


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