UNDP Disaster Management Project in Yemen gains momentum [Archives:2004/746/Community]

June 14 2004

Nadia Al-Saqqaf
Under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Rashad al-Alimi, Minister of Interior, The United Nations Development Programs and Disaster Management Training Program in Geneva in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior organized a Disaster Management and Training Workshop at the Taj Sheba Hotel between the 12th and 14th June.

The workshop was inaugurated by a welcome speech by Mr. James W. Rawley, UNDP Resident Representative, followed by a brief overview of disaster management, the workshop, and the project of UNDP and Civil Defense by Mr. Mohammed Mukalled, the Project Chief Technical Advisor. Mr. Mukalled congratulated the Yemeni Government for taking this step and recognizing the importance of disaster management, and he emphasized on the partnership between the government, donors, civil society organizations, NGOs and the private sector as well as the communities. He explained that there are three new phases through which the disaster management takes place: prevention, reaction and rehabilitation. Dr. Rashad al-Alimi delivered a speech in the inauguration ceremony in which he praised the launch of the Disaster Management Program through efforts from the UNDP and in cooperation with the Yemeni Government. He described the dire need to manage risks and hazards in Yemen, describing a disaster as an event of a few seconds that could destroy civilizations built through centuries.
This workshop is a part of the Disaster Preparedness, Management and Recovery Project executed by the Ministry of the Interior and implemented by the General Directorate of Civil Defense and funded by the UNDP. It will be implanted in close partnership with the United Nations Disaster Management Thematic Group and other local and international partners to build national capacity to respond to natural and man-made disasters. The United Nations Disaster Management and Training Program was established by UN decree number 182/46 from the 78th General Assembly in December 1991. It includes a large number of UN organizations as well as other international organizations concerned with humanitarian issues. The purpose of this program is to build capacities in order to face and manage disasters, hazards, and risks in the world especially in developing countries where the vulnerability is highest. The UN Country Team works in these terms in Yemen in order to build the capacities of the concern authorities in the government and related associations through the Disaster Preparedness, Management and Recovery Project 2003-2006.
This project, whose budget is a little less than one and half million US Dollars and to which the Government of Yemen contributes more than half, aims to provide the Yemen with the capacity to respond to the scale of vulnerability and recurrent localized disasters, which include earthquakes, floods, droughts and various epidemics through disaster mitigation, disaster response and recovery. This will be achieved through the following outputs:
– Establishing the necessary institutions (Disaster Management Unit / National Emergency Operations Center) with clear structure and functional procedures for disaster planning, management and prevention
– Formulation and implementing disaster management contingency plan
– Establishing a disaster management information system (DMIS) database
– Establishing a disaster management communication system
– Building the national staff capacity at the central and governorate levels in disaster planning, preparedness, management, mitigation, emergency response and recovery.
The establishment of the Disaster Management Unit at the Ministry of the Interior was the first output achieved and it is a promising reference for information on disasters in Yemen and a center for emergency work as well. The workshop conducted by the UNDP in Disaster Management and Training also contributes to the success of this project as it builds the capacities of the participants who have come from all parts of the country and from the various ministries and concerned organizations.