Islamabad, Pakistan, 16 May 2019 – To protect schoolchildren from natural disasters and other insecurities, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) convened government education departments, academia, district disaster management authorities and the media in Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab.
Mr. Hafiz Noorullah, Education Development Officer, Chitral, said on a radio talk show: “A lack of awareness and knowledge makes the disaster happen. So there is a need to have more and more information sharing through different media platforms and involvement of young people in interactive discussions to sensitise them on the topics of safety and security.”
Mr. Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH Pakistan said: “In the 2005 earthquake, Pakistan lost around 20,000 children due to vulnerable structures and lack of awareness and preparedness, which cannot be repeated. We need our schools to be resilient and better prepared for similar situations. We are thankful to our public and private-sector partners for joining hands with us to achieve this objective.”
For the last 20 years, AKAH has been designing and implementing programmes on Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation in some of Pakistan’s most vulnerable areas. More than 1,000 schools in disaster-prone areas have benefitted from the development of hazard and risk maps, school safety plans, provision of school safety kits, and awareness raising and capacity building of individuals.
School-level awareness raising sessions have been part of the work of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat since the Islamabad Conference on School Safety held in 2008. AKAH’s School Safety Programme will contribute towards the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s one million safe schools and hospitals global campaign, and contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and practical implementation of the Pakistan School Safety Framework.
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The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), which merges the capabilities of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and the Aga Khan Development Network’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative, focuses on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters. AKAH works to ensure that people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life. Initially, priority areas of AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and India. Read more about the agency at: http://www.akdn.org/our-agencies/aga-khan-agency-habitat