Summer camp teaches children to survive and save others in disaster situations
SHAHRINAV, Tajikistan, 11 July 2011 – Enhancing the skills of children and teachers in disaster preparedness is the major aim of a week-long summer camp that opened today in Karatog, Shahrinav district. About 160 children and more than 30 teachers from across the country will attend the summer camp.
“While hoping there never will be major disasters, preparing for them is very important,” said Tojinisso Mahmadova, Deputy Minister of Education. “This summer camp will help to prepare school children and teachers for potential disasters, thus helping them survive and play an important role in saving lives of other people.”
Tajikistan is very prone to natural disasters. The mountainous landscape and climatic conditions often cause floods, landslides, mudslides and avalanches, all of which strongly impact the lives and welfare of communities across the country.
“The impact of natural and man-made disasters falls disproportionately on children,” said Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan. “Due to their age, children have limited knowledge and skills, life experience and physical capacity to react adequately when disaster strikes. This summer camp is designed to enhance skills and knowledge of children during disasters.”
The almost 200 participants of the summer camp have been selected from 16 schools, where the project on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in schools has been implemented since 2009 jointly by the Ministry of Education, Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defence, and UNICEF. The participants have already been trained in disaster risk reduction through the project. In addition to enhancing their capacity, the summer camp will also equip more than 1,300 children in three neighbouring summer camps with knowledge and skills on survival in disaster situations.
“I learnt in school about what I need to do in case of a disaster,” said Shabafruzi Tohir, 13, who came from Ayni district to participate in the summer camp. “Now I can learn even more and share this knowledge with other children.”
The summer camp is part of the project called “Supporting disaster risk reduction among vulnerable communities in Central Asia”. The project is financially supported by UNICEF and the European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO). The aim of the project is to support strategies that enable local communities and institutions to better prepare for, mitigate and respond adequately to natural disasters.