UNICEF calls for better construction of schools and public buildings
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 2 November 2011 – In recent weeks, several schools and other buildings in the central provinces have had their roofs blown off as a result of heavy winds and rains, causing significant material damage and delays in children's schooling. In Manica alone, more than one thousand houses have been damaged by the weather in the last two months, as well as at least 12 schools and nine churches.
"This is a serious problem that needs urgent attention," says Hanoch Barlevi, UNICEF Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist.
"This is not a matter of emergency response, but demonstrates the need to improve building quality and build for the long term. We need to ensure that building codes and standards are being followed and that buildings be made to withstand bad weather," says Barlevi.
The recently approved Children's Charter on Disaster Risk Reduction calls for construction, and reconstruction, that helps reduce the risk to children and other community members and that protects the community infrastructure in the long term. According to the Charter, buildings and other infrastructure must be constructed so as to ensure that women and children continue to have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene and retain the capacity to take appropriate measures against disease and malnutrition.
"Bad construction represents a big loss of resources," says Barlevi. "We need to ensure that schools and other public buildings are constructed to provide continuity of education and other services." Barlevi emphasizes that improving construction is a critical factor in strengthening the resilience of communities to withstand the negative effects of bad weather and calamities. "If we build well today, we can worry a little less about tomorrow," concludes Barlevi.
According the the Children's Charter, it is also essential to ensure proper maintenance and construction of roads and bridges, thus enabling early recovery and reconstruction in the case of an emergency or calamity.
For more information please contact:
Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: email@example.com
Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: firstname.lastname@example.org