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Communication as a means of risk reduction: special training-workshop in the Ministry of Emergency Situations

15:42 / 15.05.2019



On May 14 a training-workshop on “Emergency and Risk Communication” was held joint with the expert group of Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Emergency Situations in the framework of the three-year technical support program on “The improvement of public awareness and emergency communication with the purpose of disaster risk management”.

The aim of the training-workshop was to improve public and mass media awareness on disasters, the capabilities of MES officials and promote the dissemination of information.

Representatives of Mass Media, press secretaries, specialists from the field of emergency situations management, lecturers, students and citizens took part in the training-workshop.

Arkadi Balyan, Deputy Minister of MES made an opening speech, welcomed everybody and noted that he put great importance on the cooperation between the both countries and hoped for a comprehensive discussion of the disaster and risk reduction program.

Qazuyuki Nakagawa, journalist of “Jiji Press” gave a special lecture and referred to the information on disasters from theviewpoint of journalists and to the preparedness of the government and Mass Media. The expert mentioned Spitak earthquake of 1988 and noted that there was a lack of information about the earthquake in Japan.

Qazuyuki Nakagawa spoke of the earthquake and highlighted the preparedness level of journalists and put great importance on their coordinated work. “Journalists and 12 firefighters died for not implementing the instructions of the officers of Shimarara municipality”.

Then Koichi Shiwaku, Chief Advisor of the expert group of Japan International Cooperation Agency, represented the aim of the three-year technical support program on “The improvement of public awareness and emergency communication in the aim of disaster risk management”: ”Communication is not just the provision of one-sided information, all the actors should communicate, inform and share the information at the time of emergency situations to improve the activities of response and restoration”;-Koichi Shikawu said.

Aram Zakaryan, member of the working group of the project and journalist at website (cmsa.am) of Crisis Management State Academy of the Emergency Situations and electronic official press of 911 of MES represented the conceptual issues of the education of the population on the “Key issues of the safety culture in Armenia”: “Safety culture is based on the education of the population in every country. It will start from the kindergartens”.

The training was followed by a workshop filled with stormy discussions and queries.

Particularly, Deputy Minister A. Balyan asked whether the “unsparing” dissemination of the information would not raise a panic among the population. The journalist of “Jiji press” noted that the absence of the information could be a reason for panic, too.

During the group discussion Hovhannes Khangeldyan, r/s colonel, Head of the National Crisis Management Center of the rescue service of MES wondered, whether there was a law limiting the elucidation of disasters by Mass Media. The Japanese colleague informed that there was not any restriction.

The participants took part in the group work on “Which are the needs and demands from the viewpoint of the government, Mass Media and other organizations”.

At the end of the seminar Tigran Tovmasyan, UNICEF Armenia Disaster Risk Reduction Project Manager spoke of the importance of the Disaster Risk Management Plan, developed by them. According to Mr. Tovmasyan it should be included in the educational programs of kindergartens and schools. It will promote the improvement of awareness on disasters and disaster risks.

To supplement the speaker’s suggestion Edmon Zargaryan, Manager of “Emergency Communication and Public Awareness Improvement in the aim of Disaster Risk Management” project informed that the Ministers of Emergency Situations and Education and Science have a preliminary arrangement to launch a pilot program on civil defense in institutions providing general education for the purpose of including it in the educational programs later on. The Project Manager expressed his appreciation to the participants and wished them maximum knowledge on disasters with a view to never using it.

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