SRINAGAR: A four-day State Level Consultation on Child Centered Emergency Preparedness for Response got underway today in Srinagar.
Organized by Jammu and Kashmir State Disaster Management Authority (JKSDMA) in collaboration with Divisional Disaster Management Authority Kashmir and UNICEF, the conference witnessed the participation of dozens of officials from the administration of various districts and the resource persons from UNICEF.
The consultation was formally inaugurated by the Advisor to Governor, B B Vyas, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The inaugural session was also attended by Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Dr Syed Abid Rashid Shah.
Besides, the conference was also attended by Director JKSDMA, Aamir Ali, Director School Education, Kashmir, Dr G.N Itoo, Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Dr Owais Ahmad, Dr Muzaffar Ahmad from UNICEF, Xavier Thomas from UNICEF and other senior officials from administration and representatives from UNICEF.
Congratulating the UNICEF and the State organizers for organizing such type of conference, Advisor Vyas said that the Kashmir has witnessed many disasters in the past and there is a need to educate people about the disaster management.
“It should be our collective resolve that whatever we learn from this conference, we should implement it on ground level and should not be limited to the documentation,” Vyas said.
He said that during any disaster, it is women and children who bear the major brunt and it is our responsibility to create a platform where all the stake holders can work together for the betterment of society as a whole in the times of disaster.
Speaking on the occasion, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir said that this conference is a great opportunity to learn how to manage disaster and directed the departments to implement in their respective departments what they learn from this conference.
While giving the detail about the conference, Director JKSDMA, Aamir Ali informed that the state Disaster management professionals with the help from MR Xavier Thomas of UNICEF have prepared a draft on rapid child-Centered risk analysis and it will be further refined during the group activities and we hope to come out with a detailed risk analysis which will be shared with the government.
He said, the plans that will be prepared as an outcome of the workshop will be followed up by the Disaster Management professionals with the line departments to institutionalize child centered disaster risk reduction in their regular programmes.
On the occasion Director School Education Kashmir, Dr G N Itoo informed the gathering the Education department has formulated the State Action Plan for the school safety and disaster management, in collaboration with JKSDMA. The aim of this plan, Itoo said, is to strengthen the institutional commitment to safe learning environment and to ensure skill development in students with regards to the disaster.
He further said, as part of disaster management, the Education Department has constituted School Safety Clubs in every High school and Higher Secondary Schools in Kashmir Division. We have also constituted Road Safety Clubs in all Higher Secondary Schools, he said adding many other programs with regards to disaster management are in pipeline. The program for the capacity building of the teachers in collaboration with JKSDMA will also be started in near future.
The first day of conference was divided in five sessions in which various officials and resource persons from UNICEF shared their knowledge and experiences with regards to what they have learnt about disaster management. The Panel Discussion and question answer session was also held in which the need for the child centered preparedness in Kashmir perspective was discussed threadbare.
The presentation on the risk profile of the State and how children are particularly vulnerable to shocks and stress was also given. The session on the process of development of appropriate risk-specific contingency plan was also held.