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UNICEF and partners mark Disaster Reduction Day in Armenia

YEREVAN, Armenia, 13 October 2011 - UNICEF in Armenia partnered with the Ministries of Emergency Situations, Education and Sciences, the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction Foundation, the State Academy of Crisis Management, as well as UNDP, WHO, World Vision, Save the Children, the Armenian Red Cross Society, and Oxfam GB Armenia to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

This year's observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction recognizes the vital role of children and young people. Natural hazards are increasing and while more and more people suffer from the related catastrophes, children are among the most traumatized as their ability to cope with unexpected and painful interruptions to their regular schedules is still not fully developed. Some 66 million children are affected by disasters every year. It calls on youth networks, teachers, civic society organizations, media, mayors, local governments, community leaders, private sector and citizens to Step Up For Disaster Risk Reduction!

Representatives of governmental and international organisations who gathered to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction emphasized, among other things, five points of the Children’s Charter which refer why and how children can be involved in reducing disaster risk, keeping themselves and their communities safe.

As part of the activities related to the International Day for Disaster Reduction, UNICEF jointly with the Ministry of Education and Sciences, Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia, the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction Foundation and the State Academy of Crisis Management are enhancing disaster preparedness and resilience of schools to forecast, prepare and respond to possible disasters based on local conditions. Involvement of children and young people is among key components of this activity.

In particular, UNICEF together with governmental and international counterparts have launched the nationwide contest on the development of school disaster preparedness plan. With UNICEF’s support, students and junior faculty of the State Academy of Crisis Management are already holding seminars in regions to present International Day for Disaster Reduction campaign and the contest to schools. The winners of the contest which will be known in December will receive prizes from UNICEF, the Government of Armenia and international partners.

UNICEF Armenia started its Disaster Risk Reduction programme in 2010. Within one year Disaster Risk Reduction has been integrated into the education policy documents and curricula and a set of important teaching and learning materials have been developed for teachers and schools and pre-school children.



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