6-7 June 2019, Almaty, Kazakhstan – The UNICEF Regional office for Europe and Central Asia and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) are holding a joint training to strengthen the capacities of the National Red Crescent Society front line responders along with national disaster risk management authorities on standards, principles and approaches for cash-based emergency preparedness and response. The exercise, held at the Centre for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction (CESDRR) in Almaty, is framed on the scenario of a major earthquake.
The Central Asia region has countries with some of the highest earthquake risk levels in the world relative to exposure and capacity. Major urban areas in the region are particularly vulnerable due to high population density and continuing concerns over the seismic safety of buildings and infrastructure. The risk profile of the region underlines the importance of effective cooperation to strengthen national capacities and social protection systems before new emergencies occur.
“In the event of a major disaster, affected communities, families will need external assistance to survive and recover in terms of shelter, medicine, access to safe water and sanitation, food, nutrition for small children and others. Cash transfers to affected families can be vital so as to allow them to decide for themselves what they and their children need the most. Globally, cash transfers in disasters are increasingly seen as an efficient, cost-effective and timely means of aid”, said Mr. Robert McCarthy, UNICEF Regional Emergency Advisor. He noted that Central Asian region is generally conducive to the establishment of mechanisms for emergency cash-based response through existing national social protection/benefits schemes. These can enable a more effective and efficient response for affected children and families.
With an increasing body of evidence underlining the feasibility of emergency cash-based approaches in Central Asia, there is a need to accelerate opportunities to implement this modality more predictably and more systematically.
“The regional training on cash-based response complements the existing and planned activities of IFRC and UNICEF in support of the Red Crescent National Societies and Governments in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan for strengthened preparedness. Cash and vouchers are used by some National Societies in our disaster prone region, and we would like to encourage and systematize this modality of support when relevant” said Ms. Bayarmaa Luntan, Head of the IFRC regional office for Central Asia.
The training is one of a series of earthquake-risk focused trainings planned for 2019-2020 by UNICEF Regional office for Europe and Central Asia and IFRC. The trainings aimed to advance concrete, country defined actions for emergency preparedness and early-action backed up by clearly defined and coordinated regional support.
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