Strengthening Disaster Risk Management Capacities in Uzbekistan (DRM)
Recent decades have seen an alarming increase in the frequency of disaster occurrences each year and the magnitude of their social, economic and environmental impacts. Natural disasters around the world have killed two million people and affected five billion persons from 7,000 episodes during the past 25 years. The direct economic losses attributed to natural disasters during this period are estimated a US $ 1 trillion.
While natural and environmental hazards may confront any nation in the world, they disproportionately become disasters with devastating effects on nations that have not been well prepared. Uzbekistan ranks high among countries that have endured significant loss of life and property due to earthquakes and other natural disasters. As one of the most seismic active regions in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is struck by earthquakes in the eight to ten point range. In addition to its seismic vulnerability, Uzbekistan is affected by hydro-meteorological hazards affecting the agricultural sector with seasonal floods and periods of drought. Other threats from landslides, locust invasions and avalanche have been reported to affect the lives and livelihood of Uzbekistan’s population.
UNDP together with the Government, UN Country Team and donor community is supporting and building capacities of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and other responsible institutions for effective disaster risk management.
The objective of this project is to assist relevant institutions in creating sustainable mechanism for disaster risk reduction. It is directed to raise the disaster risk reduction capacities of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Academy of Science, the Red Crescent Society and civil society through the Mahalla Foundation.
Achievements & expected results1. Strengthening the capacities of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and other disaster risk reduction stakeholders in Uzbekistan to mitigate, reduce disaster and climate risks and respond in a timely and strategic manner to any major catastrophic life threatening event in Tashkent, and at a later phase, in other high‐risk locations.
• The innovative platform and tool for information and knowledge sharing for disaster risk management between professionals, practitioners, policy and decision makers were established. The visit to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russian Federation provided a good opportunity to learn leading experience in the field of risk management and organization of rescue work, as well as led to a new relationship towards professional development of rescue specialists of Uzbekistan by training of trainers planned for 2013.
• On-site trainings with respect to preparation of community for tactics of primary rescue works in case of disasters will be available with support of fully equipped Mobile training center of Department of Emergency Situations of Tashkent City modernized. The training will be provided, first of all, for low-mobile group - persons with disabilities, elderly people and women living in remote areas.
• The Institute of Seismology and the project have initiated development of map of seismic zoning (MSZ) with the initial assessment of seismicity (intensity on the MSK-64 scale) of Tashkent city and neighboring areas is initiated. The MSZ of Tashkent city will help to identify areas of risk reduction and mitigation of earthquake risk as well as to take preventive measures to reduce seismic vulnerability of structures and buildings.
• Model of dangerous entity and relief map of the Republic of Uzbekistan with neighboring countries are used for training of rescue specialists by the Institute of Civil Protection of MES.
2. Expand community‐based disaster and climate risk reduction activities in accordance with national guidelines on preparedness, mitigation and response activities to natural disasters.
• In collaboration with local architects the project on reviewed local construction practices of individual house builders. Based on the analysis two Practical Guidelines for house owners on seismic safe construction were developed. First practical guidelines will provide with tips on how to evaluate and take practical steps to strengthen it with minimal expenses through the publication "Can your house withstand the earthquake?" and the practical guidelines "How to build a seismic safe house?" will provide with hands-on guidelines on seismic safe construction. The publication comprises tips that home owners, can use to improve the structural integrity of their home during construction.
• As a result of learning hour, which 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” and followed up essay competition among students on the topic “DRR: Prevention Pays” top three winners participated at the On-line training of the World Bank Institution through Disaster Management Institute in India and submitted their Project Proposals. These projects were supported by “Kelajak Ovozi” (Voise of Youth of Uzbekistan). These students will make their project presentations in all Institutes and Universities of Tashkent city.
• The International Day of Disaster Reduction (IDDR), observed throughout the globe on the 13th of October, has been established in order to raise awareness of the importance of disaster risk reduction. This year’s IDDR in Uzbekistan was observed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in close cooperation with the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Uzbekistan as well as all UN Agencies in Uzbekistan, the Academy of Science, and other relevant stakeholders involved into DRR process in Uzbekistan.
• Now, people can learn about basic “Do”s and “Don’t”s in case of emergency, for example, earthquake and/or landslide affect in residential area. A special application for mobile phones was developed as part of Public Awareness Strategy aimed at increasing knowledge of community about disasters. This application is to serve as an effective tool in for increasing public awareness about disasters and for forming a culture of actions during different natural and man-made disasters. The application is working in off-line form and now is available at ANDROID MARKET, ISTORE and OVISTORE. The application is integrated with the web-site of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Uzbekistan.
• Taking into account the seismic vulnerability of the capital city of Uzbekistan in the aim of building a culture of preparedness and the behavior during natural disasters, the Project developed a documentary film “Basic rules before, during and after an Earthquake”. The film will be broadcasted through Uzbek National TV channels as well as will be disseminated among population (schools, makhallas, etc.) for increasing awareness and challenging community for preparedness to a sudden earthquake.
3. Strengthening the capacity of the United Nations Country Team to create a DRR strategy to support the Republic of Uzbekistan in the event of a catastrophic disaster.
• During 2012 a new Disaster Preparedness and Response Group (UN DPRG) was established under the UN RCO. The Group has representation of all UN Agencies, National Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan and other humanitarian agencies working in Uzbekistan like MSF, ACTED etc. The Group conducts meetings on a quarterly basis to discuss DRM/DRR issues on national and international levels.
• Exchange of Letters with the Government of Uzbekistan: An “Exchange of Letters” has taken place between the Humanitarian Country Team and the Ministry of Emergency Situations about the assistance that the Humanitarian Country Team/RCO can immediately provide to the Government of Uzbekistan in case of an emergency.
• A simulation exercise on earthquake response preparedness was organized on October 11-12, 2012 for the Group members in collaboration with the UN OCHA, Regional office, Almaty provided a wonderful opportunity to work out the practical mechanism of Humanitarian Aid to be provided to the Government of Uzbekistan in case of the earthquake.
4. Additional resources mobilized for “Strengthening Earthquake Risk Mitigation Capacities in Uzbekistan”
• Additional funds were mobilized from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) with the purpose of strengthening earthquake risk mitigation capacities in Uzbekistan. The funds in the amount of 100 000 Euro have been mobilized through DIPECHO VII and UNDP in Uzbekistan allocated additional 76 888 Euro. It is expected that with the additional resources earthquake risk mitigation capacities of the MES will be enhanced. With these funds facilities will be created for training of MES officials and awareness rising of the community.
ActivitiesNationwide; Tashkent; Tashkent City
An important step was to understand how much the public knows about risk, risk and disaster prevention, and what to do in the case of an emergency. The project outlined the following actions will be organized under three strategic areas:
Resources for public awareness: production of print materials and materials for radio and television media. These materials will be used and distributed in training and outreach activities. The project will produce posters and brochures for population on actions before and during the earthquake, brochures on “How to build an earthquake safe house” and “How to assess the seismic safety of the existing house” for individual constructors, cartoons for children and video films on earthquake, upgrading existing web-site of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Uzbekistan.
Trainings: training community leaders, school and college teachers, NGO leaders and volunteers to increase their awareness of DRR issues. Trainings for journalists on “How to cover issues on disaster”.
Outreach: these actions include involving direct contact with the public, i.e. through lessons in schools, through displays at national events, establishing a “Young rescuer” teams among college students, organizing practical competitions, online quiz among youth, organizing contest among journalists for the “Best media product on DRR issues”, contest among children for the best picture on earthquake, broadcasting cartoons and video films through National TV.
In cooperation with Institute of Seismology of the Academy of Science the project will develop Seismic Microzoning Maps of Tashkent. This will enable stakeholders involved into disaster risk reduction process to define hazard and risk zones of Tashkent. Also it is the basis for construction of public buildings and infrastructure in Tashkent.