UN helps Turkmenistan with Emergency Preparedness
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 24 May 2006 –The United Nations System and the Government of Turkmenistan jointly organised a Consultative Meeting on Emergency Preparedness. Opening the one-day meeting, UN Resident Coordinator Richard Young underscored the importance of the Meeting in preparing the Government of Turkmenistan to respond to any situation of emergency and thanked UNICEF for organising the Meeting.
“The United Nations and its constituent agencies have developed expertise in many areas of disaster prevention, mitigation and response and works in many countries to support government capacity in their disaster response strategies,” said Mr. Young. “This meeting with key counterparts in Turkmenistan is an opportunity to share information on how the UN emergency response system works and what the system can offer.”
Speaking on behalf of the Government, Dr. Beggylych Ovezgyldyjev, Head of Treatment and Prevention, Ministry of Health and Medical Industry expressed appreciation of the UN initiative and highlighted the need for this meeting.
“Turkmenistan, as any other country in the world, should be fully prepared for an emergency. Emergency issues are at the centre of government plans. This event is important for us to deepen our knowledge in preparing for emergencies.” Dr. Ovezgyldyjev said.
The Meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Nature, Institute of Agricultural Studies and the National Red Crescent Society. Also in attendance were heads of UNHCR, UNFPA and WHO.
Angela Raven-Roberts, UNICEF Regional Advisor for Emergency for CEE/CIS countries and the main resource speaker for the Meeting told the participants that “saving lives requires efficient, timely and coordinated action and appropriate responses. Coordinated responses requires knowing what each agency’s role and function is and about having an advanced preparedness plan to respond to specific hazards.”
In the face of a threat of an avian flu outbreak, President Saparmurat Niyazov issued a decree mandating the establishment of the National Commission on Prevention of Avian Flu headed by the Minister of Health and Medical Industry. The Commission has already developed and adopted a workplan. In addition, the Government has also requested the UN to support the implementation of the workplan which the Commission has prepared and adopted. Responding to this request, the UN has committed to support the health delivery system and the development of a strategic communication plan for integration into the existing workplan of the National Commission.
Turkmenistan was the first country in Central Asia to open its border for humanitarian convoys into Afghanistan during the Afghan humanitarian crisis in 2001. Huge quantities of supplies sourced from nine countries in Europe and Asia were delivered into the country by air, rail and road transport. The whole experience proved Turkmenistan’s capacity to handle the huge logistics of requirements of emergency operations.
The Council of Ministers is responsible for coordinating emergency efforts of concerned ministries and other agencies. The Meeting is the first in a series of emergency preparedness activities planned by the UN System in Turkmenistan for 2006.
Ms. Gulyalek Soltanova