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Disaster Risk Reduction

Georgia is part of a highly hazard-prone region with earthquakes, frequent floods, landslides, avalanches and droughts affecting the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable communities. This is, in part, due to global climate change, which increases the regularity, scale and impact of hazards around the world. Nevertheless, hazards only become disasters when a society’s ability to cope within existing resources is overwhelmed.

When this occurs, the poor and marginalized – especially children, elderly, people living in poverty and persons with disabilities – are most at risk as they often lack the knowledge and life-skills that would enable them to better prepare for disasters.

According to the Centre of Monitoring and Prognosis of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia, both the number and scale of natural disasters increased dramatically over the recent years. The damage caused to Georgia by natural disasters during the last 10 years exceeds the relevant indices of neighboring countries by three or more times, costing USD 552 million, and affected 700 thousand people.

Increase in the frequency and intensity of disasters in the country can also be attributed to the negative effect of human activities, construction of hydrological infrastructure, tree felling and resulting deforestation, overgrazing and un-systemic urbanization, as well as old amortized constructions.

The Government of Georgia, notwithstanding the shortage of funds, expertise, and human resources, undertakes efforts to improve the country's preparedness for disasters. Activities in the field of disaster management are guided by a number of legislation and regulatory acts. Despite these, significant challenges still remain, such as implementing policy into practice, and raising DRR awareness levels among communities.

ASB’s Approach

Preparing individuals and communities to be better equipped for, and to be able to respond to the hazards and potential disasters they may face is one of ASB’s key priorities.

In Georgia, ASB works in partnership with the government on a range of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience building initiatives. These include: DRR policy and planning; community-based and preschool-based DRR; capacity development, media outreach; etc.

Enabling vulnerable people such as children with or without disabilities or people living under the poverty line, such as IDPs, to protect themselves during natural disasters by teaching them how to react during and after disasters is at the core of ASB’s philosophy toward disaster risk reduction.

Many children, especially those with disabilities are – prior to a disaster - severely disadvantaged as they lack access to information that may save their lives.

There are two things defining ASB’s child-related approach to DRR: Firstly, ASB understands that all children have the right to access DRR information and to be able to act upon that information. As such, ASB has become a pioneer in developing practical DRR solutions for children, always bearing in mind the needs of children with disabilities. Secondly, ASB emphasizes the use of simple, practical and non-technical DRR information in its education programs. Keeping DRR information simple, practical, and relevant allows us to deliver such critical information to all children.

When working with IDPs, ASB focuses on residents of rehabilitated Collective Centers and their host communities, keeping in mind the needs of people with disabilities. Evacuation standards and regular drills are established, Initiative Groups are familiarized with the main concept of disaster preparedness, and basic knowledge of first aid adapted to persons without any medical background is delivered. The resilience of this population is strengthened and negative impacts of natural disasters reduced.

Major Activities

IDRR trainings – the main objective of the trainings is to increase knowledge on natural hazards and develop skills to better prepare for, respond to and mitigate against disasters.  

Fist Aid trainings – practical and lifesaving information on how to administer first aid to a person until doctors arrive. The training module is adapted to the needs of the particular audience (child-centered first aid for preschool representatives) and people with no medical background. Trainings are delivered by the Georgian Samaritan Association (SSK); internationally certified trainers. 

Disaster Management Committees – are formed by the members of the particular institution and community members to assess the disaster preparedness capacity of their respective institution, and to plan and undertake risk reduction activities.

Simulation-Evacuation Drills – are at the core of all DRR projects. ASB DRR programme staff, together with national and local emergency management agency representatives carry out simulation drills for the project beneficiaries to practice their technical skills and knowledge obtained during the trainings.

DRR Educational Materials - Our DRR education material and methods have been designed specifically to address the needs of young Georgian children and children with special needs. The materials were approved by the Emergency Management Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Sciences of Georgia. 

Advocacy – we advocate for the mainstreaming of disability-inclusive disaster-risk-reduction into local, regional and national strategies and policies, particularly in the sector of preschool education to ensure that all children despite their physical and/or mental abilities are covered by the policy papers and are included in DRR activities.    

DRR equipment – we provide DRR safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, megaphones, evacuation signs, etc, to create safer environment in our target institutions and enhance their response capacity.

Achievements

  • iDRR and first aid trainings delivered to over 2,400 preschool teachers and caregivers.
  • Over 18,000 children involved in iDRR activities.
  • Disaster management committees established and disaster preparedness plans developed in 120 preschools and special schools.
  • 120 preschools equipped with DRR safety equipment.
  • iDRR and first aid trainings delivered to over 50 IDP Collective Centers.
  • Initiative groups established in 71 IDP residential buildings
  • iDRR educational materials for preschools developed and distributed in 120 preschools.