Play-acting disaster response in Lebanon

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 Play-acting disaster response in Lebanon

Play-acting disaster response in Lebanon  

In Lebanon, school age children are learning what they have to do to stay safe and healthy during disaster.

“Two months ago, I felt the earth moving under my feet”, says Salwa, a nine-year-old student in Tyre, Lebanon. Salwa was watching ‘Sneezing Firas’, a play prepared by “Khayal Arts and Education” that highlights the dangers posed by disasters, such as earthquakes, and educates students on what to do when they happen.

Supported by the UNDP through the “Strengthening  Disaster risk Management capacities in Lebanon project” carried out in partnership with the Lebanese Government through the Disaster Management unit Unit at the Presidency  of the Council of Ministers, the play is part of a wider effort to ensure that disaster risk reduction isn’t a niche concern in the country, but a national priority supported (and understood) by all citizens, young and old. In the last quarter of 2014, the play has been performed at public schools across the country, reaching an estimated  3500 students in Beirut, Saida, Tyre, the Chouf and Metn. Part of a wider disaster readiness campaign, the play that also includes puppetry, shadow theater, and videos, hopes to stimulate students’ imaginations and teach them, from an early age, how to stay safe. In addition, producers and teachers hope that students are inspired to share what they’ve learned and contribute to disaster risk reduction in their communities.

“During a disaster, it’s often the most vulnerable who suffer and are impacted the most,” says Nathalie Zaarour, UNDP’s National Disaster Reduction project Manager in Lebanon. “Women, children, the elderly, the disabled – these are all groups that sometimes aren’t targeted with public awareness and who thus might not be aware of the risk or the actions they can take. This programme helps address some of that”

Over the last decade UNDP has supported the Government of Lebanon in meeting the goals and priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). Priority Action 3 of which encourages the use of “knowledge, innovation, and education to build a culture of safety and resilience”. The Government of Lebanon has taken this in stride and has, with the support and the endorsement of the UNDP Disaster Management Unit at the Presidency of Council of ministers and along with the heightened awareness also successfully carried out emergency drills in cities, municipalities, and ministries across the country; created a website and mobile phone app that provides emergency information before, during, and after an earthquake; and conducted workshops that target all sectors, private and public, with capacity building.”

It has partnered with the Government throughout the whole  process and has helped integrate disaster risk reduction into national, sectoral and local development and planning processes.

“Disasters affect everyone and thus have to be everyone’s concern,” Zaarour adds. “Raising children’s awareness will enable us to educate a whole generation”.

Last Update Date:Date de mise à jour:آخر تحديث في تاريخ:7/3/2015 2:37 AM
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