The world is waking up to the fact that addressing the risk of disasters before they happen is the only way forward. RedR is doing this already through programmes such as its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) work in Pakistan.
Bushra Azad is a teacher in Muzaffrabad. She recently received RedR training in School Safety, which she has used to show her pupils how to behave in the event of an earthquake, fire or flood.
‘Now I’ve been trained, I can see it’s really good for young children to know about safety and first aid. These children can now educate their communities, and share with them the safety measures they’ve learnt. Not all parents here are literate. It is really important to teach these skills in schools. The skills will stay in the community, and help us all in the long-term.’
Simple knowledge makes all the difference in a crisis. Bushra remembers two key examples, which she is certain will stick in the children’s minds:
‘I taught my class to stand in the corner in the case of an earthquake, because this is the strongest part of the room, structurally. Here in the city, children must stay away from all electricity cables in the street – many people were electrocuted in the earthquake when cables fell on them.’
RedR Trainers pass on these and other nuggets of life-saving information to teachers in Kashmir, who then lead training days and drills in schools. Knowing when to adopt the brace position and how to seek cover under a desk or in an outside space means more children will survive. Schools which conduct regular evacuation drills and draw up safety plans, are immeasurably better prepared for natural disasters
Aid workers and community leaders who benefitted from RedR training are implementing changes to better prepare for disasters. Here is a taste of the changes already happening in the communities where we have worked:
Sixteen year old Momina attended RedR training and represents the children of her community in a search and rescue team. She and her team conduct monthly simulations to keep their skills fresh. In the training she learned how to:
“We were planning to launch a disaster risk reduction project but did not have anyone with the training”.
Mussarat, local aid worker
Aid agencies did all they could to help the communities of the Sindh survive in the difficult aftermath of the floods in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but knew that teaching people to cope when floods struck in future would be the most valuable gift they could give. However few of their staff were trained in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
In 2012 RedR delivered Disaster Risk Reduction courses to several Pakistani NGOs and local government departments. Mussarat and four of her colleagues from an NGO called Indus Resource Centre, based in Mirpur Khas district, Sindh province, are now able to work with whole villages to protect them against future floods. In practice this means that:
The organisations that RedR has trained in Mirpur Khas district cover the whole region, population 15,000. Musarrat's NGO alone covers 23 villages, meaning thousands of people are better prepared for future disasters.
Over the course of our programme, and through the generous support of our donors, we have trained over 1,000 relief workers across key humanitarian areas such as water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, supply chain and fleet management, safety and security, and telecommunications. 91 percent of the people trained have been national Haitian humanitarian personnel, providing a strong skills base within the country, increasing local involvement in the relief and recovery process and ensuring that skills remain in country long after the media attention has faded.
We are now winding down our training operations in Haiti. RedR would like to sincerely thank everyone who contributed to our Emergency Appeal; your donations have made an invaluable difference to rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of the people of Haiti.
There will remain a strong legacy of our time in Haiti. The skills taught will continue to have impact on the ongoing relief operation for months, even years to come. RedR Members will continue to work in the region, sharing their experience and our technical support service remains available to all field workers.
For a our full Haiti report and for further information about RedR's activities please visit our website: www.redr.org.uk
Thank you for what you have helped us do for the Haitian community.