Making earthquake preparedness one of the important national objectives

11 Oct 2013

This year UNDP joined the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Uzbekistan in recognising the ‘International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction’ from 8 to 11 October 2013. Events focused on increasing public awareness about activities of both organisations in the field of DRR. The most important events included a roundtable for leading national construction experts, a seminar regarding the UN Inter-agency plan, and a ceremony and exhibition held at the ‘Turkistan’ concert hall on the 11th.

Making earthquake preparedness is one of the important national objectives. Along with earthquake-safe construction, we need to attach great importance to the maintenance work on earthquake preparedness inside of the buildings to reduce the damage to the lives of people from falling objects during an earthquake. With efforts of the joined MES/UNDP ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Management Capacities in Uzbekistan’ project conducted practical demonstrations towards reducing the loss and damages from an earthquake – maintenance of bookshelves on the walls, lamination of window glasses, installation of stops to mobile equipment in surgery rooms at school-64 of Tashkent city and Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedics. Also, on 8th October school directors, mahalla leaders and heads of medical institutions of Tashkent city were demonstrated the importance of conducting the above work in their homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces that can save human lives and avoid material damage from the earthquake.

On the 9th of October a roundtable was attended by Uzbekistan’s leading construction industry experts, including engineers, architects, builders, designers and scientists of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan. This roundtable discussed the monitoring of the seismic stability of the construction of individual houses, especially in rural areas, and it resulted in recommendations to strengthen state control of the earthquake-proof construction of individual houses.

On the same day, debates were organised between Tashkent students regarding the topic ‘Disaster Risk Reduction – The key to the creation of a country that is resistant to natural disasters’. These debates served to raise awareness of the young people of Uzbekistan, and to focus the attention of professional universities, on issues regarding disaster risk reduction.

On the 10th of October, representatives of UN agencies and international humanitarian organisations discussed the UN Inter-agency plan for responding to emergencies in the event of a humanitarian crisis, as the result of natural or human disasters. The outcome of this activity was development of recommendations to further review the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan (IACP) of the humanitarian community, thereby enhancing overall disaster preparedness of UN-led humanitarian response system.

On the 11th of October, a ceremony accompanying exhibition regarding achievements in the field of the prevention of natural disasters was held at the ‘Turkistan’ concert hall in Tashkent, dedicated to the International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction in the framework of UNDP project conducted with active participation of Fire Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Emergency Situations (Rescue equipment, rescue machines and fire equipment) as well as Institute of Civil Defence of MES, Ministry of Public Education, Red Crescent Society and Tashkent City Department of MES . During the exhibition more than a thousand mahalla leaders and directors of schools, colleges and universities were demonstrated and disseminated brochures, booklets and disks with media materials on DRR.

During the event the presentations of involved ministries and organisations about activities in the field of DRR in Uzbekistan were demonstrated.

It is remarkable to outline that the fruitful cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction and significant results in the formation of culture and community preparedness for emergencies were highlighted in the speeches of the First Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations and UN Resident Representative in Uzbekistan.

Also, leading experts on DRR from different ministries and agencies were awarded with certificates for ‘Active participation in the field of DRR’. The event ended with a concert of the ensemble of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of the Interior.