Tajikistan and UNICEF launch new phase of a project on disaster risk reduction
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 7 August 2010 – The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education, the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense (CoES), and UNICEF in Tajikistan on a new phase of a project to reduce disaster risk in education sector was signed today in Dushanbe. Abdujabbor Rahmonov, Tajikistan’s Education Minister, Haybullo Latipov, Chair of the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense, and Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
The Memorandum outlines new areas for co-operation and partnership for 2010, building on what was achieved last year as part of the project called “Supporting disaster risk reduction among vulnerable communities in Central Asia.” 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.
“Tajikistan is a country prone to natural disasters,” said Haybullo Latipov, CoES Chairperson. “Mountainous landscape and climatic conditions frequently cause floods, landslides, mudslides and avalanches, all of which strongly impact the lives and welfare of communities throughout the country.”
“Schools are critical in equipping children with skills and knowledge that will help them survive during possible emergencies,” noted Abdujabbor Rahmonov, Tajikistan’s Education Minister.
“The impact of natural and man-made disasters fall disproportionately on children who have limited knowledge, skills and physical capacity to adequately react during disaster,” added Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan. “The project is designed to enhance skills and knowledge of children during disasters, thus helping children survive and play an important role in saving other people’s lives.”
The Memorandum aims at outlining new areas for cooperation and partnership for 2010, building on what was achieved last year as part of the project called “Supporting disaster risk reduction among vulnerable communities in Central Asia.” In 2009, the project focused on children as community change agents, training them in family disaster preparedness. More than 120,000 schoolchildren in 510 pilot schools across the country have been trained. Besides, school disaster preparedness plans were developed and tested through simulation exercises in all pilot schools.
Building on what the project achieved last year, in 2010 more children will be trained in disaster preparedness and mitigation. In addition, selected schools in 14 districts will be supplied with basic disaster preparedness and mitigation equipment. The Ministry of Education will seek to integrate a course on disaster risk reduction in the existing state school curricula.
The project is supported by the European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO).
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Alexander Sodiqov, UNICEF Communication Officer