Young Journalists Learn about Disaster Risk Reduction
Uzbekistan is highly prone to natural hazards like earthquakes, landslides, floods, droughts etc., which often convert into disasters, resulting in loss of life and property. To minimize the impact of impending disasters, there is a need to prepare communities for disaster risk mitigation and management.
In making disaster safe communities, media have an important role and a huge responsibility. Media have to play a vital role at every stage of disaster management i.e. before a disaster strikes, during a disaster and in post disaster phase. The media can provide much needed impetus in risk mitigation and disaster preparedness of any country/society. Contributions made by media can save lives and reduce economic losses up to considerable extent. To make a lasting impact, media needs to understand its‘ social responsibilities in disaster risk reduction.
A joint project of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and UNDP on “Strengthening Disaster Risk Management Capacities in Uzbekistan” is being implemented at present. Under the project, a learning hour has been conducted on April 25, 2012 for students of Uzbek State University of World Languages, International Journalism Faculty on the topic “Basic concepts of disaster risk reduction and role of media”.
The aim of the event was to create much needed awareness among the students and faculty on topics related to disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management. It is expected that after attending lecture and participation in essay competition, students will develop lots of insights in the area of DRR/DRM, which will help the country in long run.
The lecture covered many aspects of disaster risk management. From history of disasters faced Uzbekistan to climate change impacts. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Amir Ali Khan, the project’s National Disaster Reduction Advisor. The lecture was an interactive session and generated a live discussion among the students and the project team members. It was first time for most of the students to attend a lecture on topics related to DRR. The students, young journalists, had never came across such an experience where they were discussing, analyzing and making a difference between different terminology related to DRR like - what is disaster, hazard and vulnerability. The most exciting part of the learning hour for students was discussion on the role of media in disaster risk mitigation and management.
“I didn’t know that journalists should inform community about disaster prevention. I thought that it is the scientists who do forecast and we, the journalists, are there to make news reports” – said II course student of international journalism faculty.
DRM project announced an essay competition among the students of the department on the topic “Prevention Pays”. Posters with essay competition guidelines were disseminated among students. Top 3 winners of the essay competition will be provided an opportunity to undergo on-line training on disaster risk management organized by World Bank Institute (WBI), Washington, though National Institute of Disaster Management of India.