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Emergency Preparedness Essential

Emergency Preparedness EssentialEmergency Preparedness Essential

The lack of a national contingency plan will be disastrous for Iran which is prone to frequent natural calamities, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has warned.

“Absence of an efficient national system to cover four areas of prevention, vulnerability reduction, emergency preparedness, and disaster response is a serious deficiency,” Amir Mohsen Ziaei said at a meeting on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

“Preventive measures and preparedness for emergency situations appear to be sorely missing in the country’s crisis management system,” he said noting that Iranians are “highly prone to a variety of accidents, including road mishaps, occupational hazards and natural disasters.”

Statistics show that Iranian households’ preparedness index in emergency situations is 9.3% while the figure exceeds 50% and 70% in certain countries. The index is measured by 15 parameters including knowledge, behavioral skills, emergency and first aid kits and contingency plans, among others.

“Data from the last calendar year (ended in March) show that one person dies in a car crash every half an hour and one gets injured per two minutes,” said Seyyed Hamid Jamaleddini, deputy for education, research and technology affairs at the IRCS, at a separate meeting.

Iran is the fourth in Asia and sixth in the world where the likelihood of natural disasters is high, with 90% of its population at risk of earthquakes and floods.

This is while little has been done to protect the people against the  consequences of disasters. Iran’s vulnerability to earthquakes is 1,000 times more than the US and Japan, according to research by Kishor Jaiswal and David Wald titled ‘An Empirical Model for Global Earthquake Fatality Estimation’.

According to Jamaleddini, one per 31 Iranians suffers from some kind of injury in a natural disaster each year.

A scheme is underway to prepare families for emergency situations, whose trial run was initiated last year on the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction (October 12).

Titled “Khadem” which takes its name from the Persian acronym for ‘Prepared Family in Emergencies’, it is implemented by the IRCS Education, Research and Technology Department and is aimed at raising public awareness as well as offering education about the best responses in emergencies.

The objective is to educate 25 million households within a five-year period until March 2022, raising the preparedness index from the present 9.3% to 30%.    

“The plan needs community cooperation and engagement by all people and the IRCS cannot be of much help if people are not willing to get prepared,” for contingencies, Ziaei said.

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