School kids to promote disaster response on International Day for Disaster Reduction

November 14th, 2007 - 1:54 am ICT by admin  
“We have seen that when people know what to do if disaster strikes, lives are saved,” says United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in India, Maxine Olson.

October 10 is the International Day for Disaster Reduction and the theme this year is: disaster risk reduction begins at school. The school drills and other more long-term work in the education sector-like building safer schools and teaching lessons about disasters-are one part of a major Government and UNDP initiative aimed at helping millions of people in India to reduce the impact of disasters on their lives.

Across 17 States, communities, civil society and government have raised awareness about disasters, found ways to make their built environment safer, and drawn-up local response plans. These efforts are now saving lives.

For example, in Orissa, during the recent floods, Self Help Groups trained under the initiative joined the relief response in their areas-collecting clean water, food and medical supplies and floating these to stranded villagers, sustaining them until more help could reach them.

Meanwhile in Srinagar, this initiative is training local religious leaders. Now, during Friday prayers, more and more people are learning what they can do to protect themselves before, during and after earthquakes.

Over the past decade cyclones, floods, earthquakes and other disasters have affected nearly six percent of India’s people, destroying homes, incomes and lives. “As populations grow it’s more critical than ever for people of all ages and backgrounds to know how to protect themselves before, during and after disasters. This kind of knowledge and preparation saves lives. We commend the children’s efforts on this International Day for Disaster Reduction, and encourage more people to get involved,” Olson said. (ANI)

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