Better earthquake preparedness and protection of children | EUNewsletter

Better earthquake preparedness and protection of children

25 December 2012

The National Survey for Seismic Protection of the Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) and UNICEF Armenia gave a workshop entitled “Organising the Protection of Children in Schools During Earthquakes” on 5 December 2012.
The training was done in the framework of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection-funded “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction amongst Vulnerable Communities and Institutions in the South Caucasus” project, implemented by UNICEF and other partners.
The event was dedicated to Spitak Earthquake Day, on 7 December. It was also aimed at increasing the level of earthquake preparedness and protection of children in schools.
According to Hamlet Hakobyan, the Head of Staff at the Armenian MES, the goal was to sum up the work done so far and to establish safer school approaches: ‘In order to avoid further mistakes and asses the security of our children for today and for tomorrow, we need to take lessons from the tragedies of the past, including the Spitak Earthquake. During the Spitak Earthquake the most vulnerable victims were children, school buildings had been poorly built, and teachers and children were not aware of how to ensure their own security or did not know how to provide first aid. Today, after 21 years, we can clearly show concrete achievements’.
Workshop participants discussed developments in school disaster preparedness, particularly the specifics of protecting children with disabilities.

Henriette Ahrens, the Representative of the UNICEF Armenia, stressed that children with
disabilities were the most vulnerable group in any country, including Armenia. Most of these children have a limited capacity to deal with disasters and are rarely involved in any preparedness or mitigation activities.

‘I am happy that a particular session in today’s workshop agenda is dedicated to this group of children, who simply cannot be ignored just because someone thinks they have limited abilities,’ said Ahrens.

A training exercise on how to react during earthquakes was organised concurrently in one school in Vayots Dzor marz. Workshop participants were able to follow it via video link.

Better earthquake preparedness and protection of children

The National Survey for Seismic Protection of the Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) and UNICEF Armenia gave a workshop entitled “Organising the Protection of Children in Schools During Earthquakes” on 5 December 2012. The training was done in the framework of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection-funded “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction amongst Vulnerable Communities and Institutions in the South Caucasus” project, implemented by UNICEF and other partners. The event was dedicated to Spitak Earthquake Day, on 7 December. It was also aimed at increasing the level of earthquake preparedness and protection of children in schools. According to Hamlet Hakobyan, the Head of Staff at the Armenian MES, the goal was to sum up the work done so far and to establish safer school approaches: ‘In order to avoid further mistakes and asses the security of our children for today and for tomorrow, we need to take lessons from the tragedies of the past, including the Spitak Earthquake. During the Spitak Earthquake the most vulnerable victims were children, school buildings had been poorly built, and teachers and children were not aware of how to ensure their own security or did not know how to provide first aid. Today, after 21 years, we can clearly show concrete achievements’. Workshop participants discussed developments in school disaster preparedness, particularly the specifics of protecting children with disabilities. Henriette Ahrens, the Representative of the UNICEF Armenia, stressed that children with disabilities were the most vulnerable group in any country, including Armenia. Most of these children have a limited capacity to deal with disasters and are rarely involved in any preparedness or mitigation activities. ‘I am happy that a particular session in today’s workshop agenda is dedicated to this group of children, who simply cannot be ignored just because someone thinks they have limited abilities,’ said Ahrens. A training exercise on how to react during earthquakes was organised concurrently in one school in Vayots Dzor marz. Workshop participants were able to follow it via video link.