Training Course on Earthquake Emergency Search and Rescue held in Beijing

Apr 18, 2017

In recent years, earthquakes have occurred more frequently and unexpectedly across the world, with a total of 17 in 2016 in countries ranging from Burma to Ecuador and New Zealand. Due to the huge economic, environmental and social effects earthquakes can have on communities in the affected countries, improving Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) has been recognized as an essential goal for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring that communities receive both rapid support and operational training.

On the morning of April 17, in order to facilitate knowledge sharing and build capacity for increasing community earthquake resilience in Bangladesh, Nepal and China, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China, in partnership with National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) of Ministry of Civil Affairs of People’s Republic of China launched the Training Course on Earthquake Emergency Search and Rescue in Beijing. The 4-day training course is organized under the Sharing and Learning on Community Based Disaster Management in Asia Project (CBDM Asia Phase II) funded by Department for International Development of UK (DFID).

The training course brought together 52 participants from governments, academia and communities in  Bangladesh, Nepal, China and the UK as well as UN agencies, to take part in key discussions, observe drills and attend field trips on emergency search and rescue training and education. Over the four-day period, they will engage in activities and field trips promoting experience sharing of earthquake response and technology, earthquake search and rescue skills training, and skills training for escaping disaster-hit sites.

“One of the key outputs under the CBDM programme involves exchange of practices on community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) enhanced among practitioners and communities.” said Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director for UNDP China. “And 2017 has alsowitnessed more integrated actions on DRR, especially CBDRR. Under the post-2015 Sendai Framework, there is overlap with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Some of the SDGs are closely related to disaster response and management, goal 11 standing out in particular. Besides, disaster resilience is a new and vital component of humanitarian and development work. ” Mr. Haverman emphasized that the seven communities under CBDM Phase II in China, Bangladesh and Nepal have become models of best practices that have the potential to be replicated in many other communities at risk across Asia. With both institutional drive and individual efforts, we can make the world a safer place.

In the keynote speech, Mr.Yang Siquan,  Chief Engineer of National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) of Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA) emphasized the importance of training courses for emergency management, techniques for self and mutual-rescue, and search and rescue among countries for stimulating more rapid responses to disasters. “This training course is helpful to communities for conducting earthquake emergency search and rescue activities in a rapid, effective and orderly fashion. Furthermore, it can  reduce disaster risks and better protect lives, all whilst better preparing communities and societies.” Mr. Yang highlights that CBDM is a key action for promoting South-South Cooperation (SSC) in the region. Through inclusive cooperation partnership building, the programme facilitates extensive communication and pragmatic cooperation among disaster management departments, international organizations, academics and civil society organizations in the UK, China, Bangladesh and Nepal.

China, Bangladesh and Nepal all possess different experiences on how to deal with disasters, including the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and Nepal earthquake in 2015. These events led to heavy casualties and economic losses, so sharing practical drills and hands-on approaches across borders is increasingly important to prepare for future disasters. The training course does not only provide an opportunity and platform for mutual learning and better understanding regarding the DRR knowledge in face of mega-disasters, especially regarding earthquakes, but also contributes to partnership building, pooling of knowledge and techniques, and for reaching a consensus between the four countries.

Through endeavors strengthening capacity building for DRR under the framework of SSC and the Belt Road Initiative (BRI), UNDP China hopes that participation and discussion in this week’s programme and future training sessions can further promote cooperation. Knowledge exchange, mutual learning and partnership on disaster management can ensure that future responses to disasters are faster, more efficient, and inclusive, ultimately saving the lives of those most at risk.

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