Disaster risk management programme in full swing in four marzes of Armenia
YEREVAN, 3 February 2011 – UNICEF, Oxfam GB Armenia and the Armenian Red Cross Society presented today mid-term results of the Regional Programme for Disaster Risk Management that kicked off in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia last April.
Funded by the Disaster Preparedness Programme of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (DIPECHO), the programme aims at building an efficient system to systematically address existing and emerging disaster risks in the three countries as well as helping them meet their commitments under the 2010-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action.
In Armenia, UNICEF, Oxfam GB Armenia and the Armenian Red Cross have been implementing the programme in 4 marzes in partnership with the key stakeholders, including the Ministries of Emergency Situations and Education, the State Academy of Crisis Management, the National Institute of Education and the Armenian Rescue Service.
The programme attaches particular attention to inclusion of disaster risk reduction into the education process and building a culture of safety and resilience at all levels of education. In particular, in Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor, Shirak and Aragatsotn marzes UNICEF organized awareness raising workshops for 132 representatives of regional authorities and officials from local education and emergency departments. In addition, 96 school and pre-school teachers underwent special trainings in disaster risk reduction in education at the State Academy of Crisis Management and 9 special teaching and learning tools and handbooks were developed for schools.
“Community participation and education is necessary to make mitigation and disaster preparedness work. The proven way to educate the public and get your citizens’ involved in disaster response and preparedness activities is through locally-based initiatives. The schools and pre-schools have central role in this respect,“ UNICEF Representative Laylee Moshiri emphasized.
At community level Oxfam GB Armenia and the Armenian Red Cross established 19 Community Emergency Response Teams, organized specialized trainings for 330 volunteer rescuers, developed community disaster risk reduction and preparedness plans as well as conducted community hazard mapping, organized awareness raising sessions for close to 15,000 school children, provided equipment to schools, pre-schools and Community Emergency Response Teams and implemented six small scale disaster risk reduction projects in three remote villages.
“Building a culture of safety and resilience to disasters should start from early years of life, from kindergartens and continue through school years. As UNICEF Representative, I would like to promote the idea of establishment of a permanently functioning National Coordination Board for Disaster Risk Reduction in Education within the Disaster Risk Reduction National Platform that will focus on three main components for preschools and schools: infrastructures, curriculum and Disaster Risk Reduction management,” UNICEF Representative said, addressing participants of the meeting.