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UNICEF and Ministry of Emergency Situations of Uzbekistan roll out Disaster Risk Reduction across the country

© UNICEF Uzbekistan/Estey
Evacuation of children from a building as part of the emergency training for children. Kimyogar Summer Camp in Tashkent region, Uzbekistan.

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 17 June, 2011 – More than 150,000 children attending summer recreational camps throughout Uzbekistan will be engaged in disaster risk reduction promotion through learning and practicing new skills.

Educating children on how to get better prepared for and respond to disasters is part of the DIPECHO VI project, which is being implemented in Uzbekistan by the Ministry of Emergency Situations with the support from UNICEF and European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) since 2007.

The project aims to improve disaster preparedness and response in the country and thus to protect from disasters the most vulnerable communities, especially children and women living in disaster high risk areas. The strategy is two-fold: to strengthen the existing disaster risk management policies and strategies through integrating disaster risk reduction into education and health sectors at all levels and to build a culture of safety and prevention in local communities (mahallas).

“Preparing for disasters and minimizing risk at community, school and pre-school levels is still relatively new in many places around the world. Yet this integrated approach is crucial as it ensures the safety of children in an event of disaster. UNICEF welcomes the Ministry of Emergency Situations’ initiative of taking the partnership forward and the involvement of education and health ministries, their departments in the regions, and mahalla committees in developing action plans and reaching the most vulnerable children in disaster prone areas,” said Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Deputy Representative. "

© UNICEF Uzbekistan/Estey
In the earthquake-prone country, drills are conducted so that children know how to protect themselves if an earthquake strikes.

 "The DIPECHO project has been instrumental in improving the capacities of schools and kindergartens as well as Regional Civil Protection Training Centres in targeted districts. It has also enabled us to introduce new means of preparing the population for potential disasters, using modern technologies", said Mr. Fakhriddin Gulomov, Head of the Department for Population and Territory Protection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

In turn, Mr. Mirzokhid Ibrohimov, a representative of the Ministry of Public Education, acknowledged that the partnership with UNICEF and other stakeholders had helped “raise children's understanding of the issue and develop a responsible attitude towards their personal security and safety of others."

The DIPECHO project is part of the regional initiative “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction among vulnerable communities and institutions in Central Asia and the Caucasus” supported by UNICEF and EC’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO). The project has been originally piloted in Uzbekistan and gradually expanded to cover other Central Asian countries and the Southern Caucasus.

Over four years of the implementation in Uzbekistan, this project helped reinforce coordination on disaster preparedness through creation of a national DRR platform and a unified information management system. Disaster volunteer rescuer teams and plans preparing for disasters were created and hundreds of service providers, community representatives and local officials were trained. But more importantly, the education and health sectors’ role in mitigating the risk and impact of future disasters has been strengthened.

About 5,000 teachers were trained in basic disaster awareness and preparedness and equipped with necessary guides and communication materials. 350,000 children and parents were made better aware of natural hazards and associated risks and can now take measures to prepare for disasters at individual and family level.

To ensure sustainability, UNICEF is currently promoting the inclusion of disaster risk reduction into formal school curricula, and development of training and learning programmes on how to reduce risk at a community level.

 UNICEF also continues to advocate for integration of the disaster risk reduction strategy into the overall national development agenda and is assisting regional governments to develop strategies and action plans to keep communities, rural health points, schools and kindergartens safe in an event of major disasters.

For more information, please contact: Linda Saturno, Chief, Social Policy Section, UNICEF, + 99871 2339735 or Hushnid Sattarov, Programme Officer under Social Programme, UNICEF,  + 99871 2339735



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