75% of the Kazakhstan territory is subject to a high risk of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, landslides, mudflows, floods, epidemics, extreme temperatures, earthquakes, forest and steppe fires.
In Kazakhstan, 3-4 thousand emergency situations happen annually with 3-5 thousand victims, a dozen deaths and 16 billion tenge worth of damage. It is known that geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes are permanent. However, climate change exacerbates the situation: floods, storms, droughts occur more often; there is a shortage of most types of resources: food and water. Disasters affect vulnerable citizens the most, with children typically accounting for 50% of the affected population. Children suffer from infringement of their rights, separation from their families, and difficult access to services.
In 2017 in Kazakhstan, 1,283 children died from external causes, including 449 children who died from burns and fires.
In Kazakhstan, neither in a state, nor in any other organization, there is a database, review nor analysis of standard design solutions for school buildings in terms of seismic safety. To monitor the accident rate and structural safety of schools, a single archival database of project documentation of school buildings is required. This information can also complement the National Educational Database (NED) of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It contains several informative forms on various characteristics, including substandard school form, which is missing the abovementioned data.
UNICEF signed a Memorandum of Understanding and provides support to the Emergency Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan as a part of the Emergency Disaster Risk Reduction Support to Organizations and Vulnerable Communities program. Increasing focus on education, the program aims to integrate disaster risk reduction into state compulsory education standards and curricula, advanced teacher training and daily risk management in schools and pre-school organizations.
During the implementation of the program, 4,000 teachers and 70,000 students in resource and pilot schools and pre-school organizations in Almaty, South Kazakhstan, East Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda, Mangystau regions and cities of Almaty and Astana improved their knowledge and skills on safe behavior before and after disasters.
Disaster risk reduction is included in the elementary school program and in the mid-level in the context of updating the education content as well as in the system of teacher development.
One of the program focuses is the improvement of the national system for assessing and ensuring the safety of school buildings in accordance with the Global School Safety Concept. With the technical support of UNICEF, structural safety of 38 schools in Astana, Almaty, Aktau, Kyzylorda and
Oskemen was assessed. Based on the assessment results, recommendations were developed and presented at the national level.
Innovative approaches to the protection of children in disasters and emergencies: unmanned aerial vehicles
Currently, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more widely used in various industries. UNICEF is also actively exploring the prospects of using UAVs to help children - improve their living conditions, prevent them from getting into situations dangerous for life and health, rescue them in emergency situations and teach them necessary skills. In 2017, UNICEF began working on the creation of a so-called "test corridor" in Kazakhstan, i.e. pilot area for testing the use of UAVs. Currently, UNICEF experts believe that the most promising (in terms of the UNICEF mandate) areas of UAV application are:
* prevention of emergency situations by early visual identification of risk areas and subsequent continuous or periodic monitoring of such areas;
* urgent delivery of small in weight and volume goods (medicines, vaccines);
* search and participation in the rescue of people during an emergency;
* urgent provision of temporary communication (GSM and Wi-Fi) in the emergency area;
* assessment of damage from an emergency situation (determination of the extent of damage, list of necessary work to restore transport and residential infrastructure).
In the course of preliminary assessment of the situation in Kazakhstan, a great potential in the field of UAVs was revealed: there are companies developing their own production of such equipment (including its development using special software). Many companies provide UAV-based services, and aviation design club are widely developed at schools and various organizations of out-of-school education (palaces/centers of children's creativity).
UNICEF, in cooperation with the Republican Institute for Advanced Training of Management and academic of the Education System of the Republic of Kazakhstan, supported the development of an educational and methodological complex for teachers and school and preschool children in six modules: floods, earthquakes, fires, mudflows and landslides, low temperatures and first aid. In addition, “Risklandiya” interactive learning game was adapted, and high school students were trained in creating 1-minute videos on disaster risk reduction.