Tag Archives: disaster

The disaster risk reduction programmes of the European Union are implemented to reduce the impact of natural disasters in particularly vulnerable areas. The regional programme for South Caucasus is under the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) of the EU, which fourth phase was launched on 28 June 2016. The programme is being implemented by the Armenian Red Cross Society and OXFAM Armenia, in partnership with OxYGen foundation, UNICEF, UNDP, and Save the Children. It will run until the end of 2017 and be carried out in close collaboration with the Armenian Ministries of Emergency Situations, Science, Territorial Administration and Development, and the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The programme aims at making communities in areas prone to natural hazards less vulnerable, and to boost their resilience to natural and man-made hazards. The humanitarian partner organisations will work in Shirak, Lori, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Tavush, Armavir, Syunik marzes and Yerevan, with a special focus on the needs of children, women and persons with disabilities. DIPECHO partners are working in close collaboration with government stakeholders to include disaster management and risk reduction in national, regional and local emergency management; in the shorter term this will reduce reaction times when disaster strikes, and in the longer term reduce disaster risks. Through its large scope of activities, the programme will also strengthen cooperation in disaster risk reduction between other relevant national and regional structures in the South Caucasus.
13533341_1049708831749712_8371406029852970514_nThe Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Hoa-Binh Adjemian, talked about the EU’s commitment to support Armenia in risk reduction: ‘I have been in Armenia for a long time and this is not my first time at a DIPECHO launch. The EU has supported Armenia and its citizens in many different ways; safety is an important field of cooperation. When you learn something at school, you always come to the same idea – what I learned during my studies was that, on a long-term analysis of growth, what is important and what ensures sustainable long-term goals is how you manage risk. For example, when an earthquake or other natural disasters happen, it all hinges on what you did before it’.
Hamlet Hakobyan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations, welcomed DIPECHO’s extension: ‘Just a few months ago we had the closing ceremony of the third phase of DIPECHO in this same hall. During that event, all of us highly appreciated the achivements of the project’s partner organisations, and special attention was paid to the format of cooperation formed between the ministries, the Disaster Risk Reduction National Platform and the partner organisations. I hope that our efforts will continue and expand – today we witness the justification of our hopes, for which I congratulate all of us’.
Armenian Deputy Minister of Education and Science Manuk Mkrtchyan stressed the importance of this programme in Armenia: ‘When it comes to pupils and schools, we are implementing several projects on developing curricula in this area. The importance of this project is not only that we are working to create a safe learning process, but also including civil society, which is very important for pupils. They have an opportunity to engage with representatives of different sectors, talk to experts, and discuss important issues; all these have a very good impact on the educational process’.
This is the fourth phase of the DIPECHO programme in the South Caucasus. Since 2010, considerable efforts have been made to reduce the vulnerability of public schools, as well as special schools, pre-schools and child facilities. Support for disaster preparedness has been provided to target communities with the aim of increasing their capacity to protect lives and livelihoods and of mitigating the impact of disasters and climate change. In addition, evacuation, fire protection and other disaster risk reduction training activities have been conducted.

The 3rd ‘Public Awareness as a cornerstone of disaster risk reduction and sustainable development’ conference took place on 15-16 December 2015 in Yerevan. The event has become a tradition and is organised by the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
ARS_0011The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski, was involved in opening the conference: ‘Many types of natural disaster characterise the South Caucasus region. I visited Gyumri two weeks ago and saw how people are still living in temporary housing, many many years after the earthquake, which was very sad. I am here to confirm the EU’s commitment to disaster risk reduction. We are trying to do our best here in the region. Two weeks ago we were at the closing event of the DIPECHO programme’s Phase 3; I saw how many activities had been carried out. I hope very much that we will move on to Phase 4 of DIPECHO. There is also another Eastern Partnership programme for disaster preparedness which we are implementing, which promotes civil protection preparedness in the region. We all agree how media are important for education – we don’t have to pursue the media to simply cover disasters when they happen. It is extremely important to involve media in the education process and preparation’.
The goal of the conference is to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks through the implementation of integrated and inclusive economic, structural, legal, social, health, cultural, educational, environmental, technological, political and institutional measures to prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, to increase preparedness for response and recovery, and to strengthen resilience.
Vache Terteryan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, stressed the government’s dedication to this issue: ‘Disaster risk reduction is one of the priorities for our government; it is included in action and development plans, as well as in government programmes. 21 Armenian cities have already signed the certificate to join the awareness campaign on risk reduction. After accepting the chart of the SENDAI framework for disaster risk reduction for 2015-2030, many activities have already been undertaken. We are always organising public awareness events to inform people about disaster risk reduction. This is through public events, radio, TV, and newspapers. There is a well-known mantra: “One who is informed is protected”. Therefore, we think that media can play a very important role in these issues’.

Prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters (PPRD) in the EaP countries- PPRD East 2 national advisory group meeting took place on 21 April 2015. The PPRD East 2 Programme is an EU-funded regional initiative with € 5.5 million budget. The project is aimed at increasing disaster risk management capacities of Eastern partnership societies and improving protection of populations from the negative consequences of man-made and disasters caused by natural hazards.
2Z4A9680Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Hoa-Binh Adjemian, talked about improvements of the risk management. “We are here today to ensure that Armenian people, who have been through so many crises for centuries, are prepared when they face different types of risk. The EU is very proud to support this project. For us, risk preparedness and preparedness for unpredictable situations is a key to ensure the growth of Armenia, and be sure that Armenian citizens live in a peaceful place”.
As a regional project it includes Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine. The second phase of the project – December 2014/ November 2018 – is built on the achievements of Phase 1, focusing its efforts on:
• approximation to the EU legislation and disaster risk management good practices such as EU Floods Directive and EU Civil Protection policies;
• strengthening civil protection capacities of Partner countries through joint trainings and exercises,
• further development and practical use of the electronic regional risk atlas,
• raising awareness about disasters;
• establishing better cooperation with the EU Civil protection mechanism and its participating states.
PPRD East 2 will work at regional and national level. At regional level, PPRD East 2 will promote the EU approaches to disaster risk management and civil protection good practices including tools and methods for building a regional capability for responding to disaster. Activities at national level will be demand-driven and will reflect national disaster risk management priorities and civil protection policy. In particular, they will focus on approximation of the Partner countries’ legal and institutional frameworks to relevant EU legislation, policies and good practices in the relevant fields.

On 13 October the “Disaster Risk Reduction in Armenia (DIPECHO III)” project was launched in Yerevan, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO). The project is implemented by the Armenian Red Cross Society, Oxfam Armenia and Save the Children, in collaboration with the Armenian Ministries of Emergency Situations, Education and Science, Labour and Social Affairs, Territorial Administration, and the Disaster Risk Reduction National Platform.
IMG_9658This project is aimed at reducing the vulnerability of children and communities in areas prone to natural hazards. It will be implemented in regions and communities in Armenia that are highly exposed to natural hazards and disaster risks, in partnership with the government of Armenia, ministries, and regional and local authorities, which have a role in decision making for coordinating disaster management and reduction activity.

The Deputy Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation Jose-Maria Medina-Navarro discussed the background of EU-Armenia disaster risk-reduction cooperation: ‘The EU has made a strong commitment to Disaster Risk Reduction and supports third countries. The goal is to contribute to sustainable development by reducing the burden of disasters on the most vulnerable countries and populations groups. Armenia was, notably, one of the first countries in the world in which ECHO intervened’.

IMG_9690 The Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations Haykaram Mkhitaryan appreciated the progress of disaster risk reduction potential in Armenia: ‘Currently Armenia has a special platform for risk and disaster reduction, which is a big achievement in itself. However, disaster risk reduction cannot be a monopoly owned by the government or a ministry; this is why we have formed a volunteer detachment, which allows for greater societal involvement in this crucial issue and a reduction in state expenses’.

DIPECHO III began on 1 May 2014 and has included projects ranging in duration from 13 to 18 months. In Armenia it will target the provinces of Shirak, Lori, Aragatsotn, Geharkunik, Vayots Dzor, Tavush and Yerevan. Four main strategic directions will be addressed: to strengthen the capacity of local communities and address the needs of most vulnerable populations in disaster risk reduction; to reflect the needs and rights of the most vulnerable children; to build the capacities of children and schools in hazard-prone areas to better respond to disasters; to tackle issues related to disaster risk reduction in the context of the national educational system.