Ministry of Emergency Situations of Uzbekistan, EC and UNICEF renew partnership to protect most vulnerable communities in disaster-prone areas
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 26 July 2010 – Hundreds of children and women living in high-risk areas across the country will be better protected against natural hazards through a new disaster risk reduction project launched by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Uzbekistan, EC and UNICEF today.
This project is a concrete step towards implementation of the Country Programme of Cooperation between UNICEF and the Government of Uzbekistan for 2010-2015. It will support national efforts to improve disaster preparedness and response at central and local levels with a focus on ensuring safety and protection of children and their communities against disasters.
Uzbekistan is situated in a highly disaster prone zone. Earthquakes, floods, drought and landslides are the major threats that can affects millions of people. Building a culture of safety and resilience among the local populations, especially children, is therefore crucial to minimize the devastating impacts of disasters.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Emergency as part of the regional initiative “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction among vulnerable communities and institutions in Central Asia and the Caucasus” with support from UNICEF and EC’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO). The programme has been originally piloted in Uzbekistan and gradually expanded to cover other Central Asian countries and the Southern Caucasus.
“We welcome the expansion of the programme both nationally and regionally and see it as an opportunity to widen our dialogue with the world on vital disaster preparedness issues,” said Hakimjon Abdulazizov, Deputy Minister of Emergency, at the signing of a letter of agreement on further cooperation between UNICEF and the Ministry of Emergency of Uzbekistan. He noted with appreciation UNICEF’s support in improving disaster preparedness of local communities and schools in 36 high risk districts in nine regions of the country.
“The aim now is to bring disaster preparedness and risk reduction to an entirely new level and introduce innovations in this area so that we better protect lives of children and women across Uzbekistan,” stressed Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Deputy Representative.
Within the new project, UNICEF will continue to assist the Government in strengthening the existing disaster risk management policies and strategies and developing local action plans. Further efforts will be made to fully integrate disaster preparedness and risk reduction into the education sector so that school principals, teachers and other staff are aware of and are able to undertake required measures in the event of disaster.
Advocacy to reinforce commitment and support to disaster risk reduction will be complemented by capacity building of government officials in charge of education and disaster management at central, regional and local levels. Public awareness raising among children, their parents and communities to build their capacity to protect themselves from future disasters will remain an integral component of the project.
The project will run until August 2011. It will work closely with the ministries of health and public education and their subsidiary institutions, regional governments, NGOs and other local organizations.
For more information please contact:
Hushnid Sattarov, UNICEF Programme Officer
Nigina Baykabulova, UNICEF Communications Officer